Posted in 1 Star, Film Reviews

Grimsby – Review

It’s been a long while since a movie actually managed to make me physically sick, but Grimsby (known as The Brothers Grimsby in some areas) succeeded in doing so. At its best, Grimsby is a rather boring film, but at its very worst, the lowbrow humour is enough to put off a viewer like myself not only as it was utterly stupid, but the imagery was absolutely disgusting and it’s the sort of crassness that leaves me madder as the film keeps going on. Even at only 82 minutes, Grimsby‘s display of poor taste is enough to leave one angered at all of its pointlessness, it’s embarrassing.

Sacha Baron Cohen and Mark Strong as long-lost brothers in Grimsby.

Sacha Baron Cohen is a man whose comedy I can find entertaining when I get a vibe that there’s at least something much more insightful to what’s presented. When you watch a film like Borat, the reason it’s funny does not come out from how crass it appears to be, but in its manner of satirizing the relationships between America and a country whose standards they don’t understand inside of an obviously exaggerated picture. In the case of a film like Bruno, the nature of the crass humour does not really serve so much purpose because it appears as crass for its own sake. When The Dictator tried going again for what Borat attempted to tackle, the fact that it did not play in the mockumentary format took away from the shock factor that made his prior films effective, but worst comes to worst within Grimsby, a film that excels only in poor taste from start to finish.

What’s clear is that the comedy’s intended purpose is to merely offend its viewers but there’s a problem when this here is said approach for the film. At least from how I would see it, the purpose of comedy films is to have the viewers laugh at what is being given to them, but aiming only for reactions from audiences is where the jokes fail to land because the audience members are not a part of the film itself, no matter how supposedly funny their reactions may be (I can’t imagine the look of disgust from viewers being funny especially given what the film is showing). The fact the film is showing us said content only increased a sense of superiority being presented on the screen, for it does not seem like the viewers are laughing at what they’re seeing, but the film is laughing at the audience in itself, which added more to be angered with.

Most of the film’s attempts at humour comes from extremely poor taste and that was enough to leave me angered as it did leave me sickened. For one, we have a joke that pokes fun at Bill Cosby in regards to what he had been involved with in more recent years, but really, the subjects of a lot of these jokes, which include leukemia and HIV (both of which are poked fun at numerous times), it soon left me baffled to think what the writers had going through their minds when they actually thought that this was the material that could garner a laugh from its viewers. It also didn’t help when we had an incredibly disgusting scene which involved Sacha Baron Cohen and Mark Strong’s characters hiding within a field of elephants, a particular scene that actually managed to make me sick to my very own stomach.

At the opening, there’s a somewhat entertaining action sequence but afterwards, you’d be amazed how much of a nosedive Grimsby takes afterwards. When people said Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Saló, or the 120 Days of Sodom had made them sick to their stomachs, I would really want to see them sitting through Grimsby. Whereas I would indeed recommend Saló in its bravery to show what fascism does to the human psychology, I can’t fathom any reason to recommend Grimsby because it has nothing to even say with all the crassness, it’s just despicably ugly for the sake of appearing ugly, at that point it didn’t even seem like it were trying to be a comedy anymore, it’s most simply foul.


Watch the trailer right here.

All images via Sony.


Directed by Louis Leterrier
Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen, Phil Johnston
Produced by Sacha Baron Cohen, Peter Baynham, Ant Hines, Nira Park, Todd Schulman
Starring Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Strong, Rebel Wilson, Penelope Cruz, Isla Fisher
Release Year: 2016
Running Time: 82 minutes

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Author:

Jaime Rebanal writes film reviews regularly for Letterboxd and is also the founder of Jaime Rebanal's Film Thoughts, a blog dedicated to discussing the good and bad for the many films he views. He has written consistently for at least a year and continues to allow his content to roam free across the web, and is always open to discuss with fellow film fans.

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