5 hours ago
Wednesday, 2 March 2016
Film: 'Grimsby' / ('The Brothers Grimsby')
I thought that this latest Sacha Baron Cohen offering might engender at least a couple of laughs. I was wrong - by two.
There had been moments in both his previous 'Bruno' and his 'The Dictator' which made me chortle. Not so here. And yet he's frankly bigger than these wastes of time and money - though because of his fan-base I deem that this'll give him his invested monies back
So good in 'Sweeney Todd', where he was the only major cast member who wasn't miscast, good in Martin Scorsese's 'Hugo', (though bringing nothing special to 'Les Mis'), he here adds to his very own original compendium of outlandish characters using their 'oddness' as an excuse for vulgar-drenched 'humour' - and this one outdoes anything gone before. Trouble is, it just ain't funny, at least to me - and also to a substantial part of the audience I was watching this with, that I could discern.
Ought to explain at the outset that Grimsby is a smaller-than-medium-sized town on Lincolnshire's North Sea coast, and was once this country's primary fishing port. However, since the collapse of the fishing industry in the 1970s it now remains a sad relic of what was once a flourishing seaport, now a run-down town of high unemployment - or so we are given to believe. (Incidentally, the few short scenes supposedly to be taking place in Grimsby were actually shot in the East London docks area.)
S.B.C. is a slovenly, big-mouthed, Grimsby man and football fanatic, living with his girlfriend (Rebel Wilson) and nine crudely sweary children (Ho ho ho! Such hilarity!). Twenty eight years previously he'd been separated from his brother (Mark Strong), now an MI6 agent and professional assassin, and during all this time he's been yearning for a reunion. Strong is already heavily involved in attempting to foil a world take-over through germ warfare by the depthlessly wicked Penelope Cruz, no less - she as unconvincing a villainess as one can imagine, though I suppose that's part of the film's intended 'fun'.
S.B.C., having found Strong, hitches along with him, joining in his exploits and narrow escapes much to Strong's displeasure - taking them to South Africa and then (what passes for) Santiago, Chile. The 'jokes' maintain their crudeness throughout - in South Africa involving Gabourey Sibide as an hotel maid (the perspective taken here for the 'joke' making me feel particularly uncomfortable), as well as the two male leads at one point secreting themselves to hide from their pursuers by climbing intro the capacious vagina of an elephant, just prior to its being the recipient of multiple matings. (Laugh? I couldn't even start!).
There are a number of unfunny cameos from British comedy TV personalities (John Thomson, Johnny Vegas, Ricky Tomlinson and others) though I doubt if any of them would feel especially proud when they see the final product with which they've been involved.
Director Louis Leterrier (best well-known so far for the gritty and moderately enjoyable 'Transporter' and its sequel) doesn't add any specially distinctive touches to this product, but he does maintain its momentum - though to what end?
It sounds like I was left completely unamused throughout but I must confess that I did manage to raise half a smile at one point when (spoiler alert!) in a health spa, S.B.C. sees one of the staff going about his business with the word 'Therapist' on the back of his work-coat - and he reads the word as 'The Rapist'. That was the only point when my straight-faced observance cracked a little. Otherwise I maintained a serious front with no effort at all.
If I were to rate this film solely on my amusement quotient it would be low indeed. In the end I've decided to award it with one point for its unflagging energy, and the remaining point for........for.......well, I dunno really.............2.