The Austin Chronicle

The Brothers Grimsby

Rated R, 83 min. Directed by Louis Leterrier. Starring Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Strong, Rebel Wilson, Freddie Crowder, Penélope Cruz, Isla Fisher, Jon-Jon Lockwood, Shaun Thomas, Annabelle Wallis, Ian McShane.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., March 18, 2016

It’s only been four years since Sacha Baron Cohen’s last starring role in The Dictator, but it feels like ages. Baron Cohen’s subversive brand of immersive, in-your-face guerrilla comedy has found its tragicomic equal in – who’d’a thunk it? – the real world. A decade ago, his culturally tone-deaf but ever-curious Kazakhstanian reporter named Borat delivered a laudable, smartass commentary on America and Americans, right or wrong. Given the country’s current, near-sociopathic climate of xenophobic hostility, Baron Cohen has chosen a broad comedy that’s no more based in reality than director Leterrier’s The Transporter and its sequel. The Brothers Grimsby is a mismatched buddy comedy with heavily weaponized bad guys in black, a doomsday narrative, as well as a plot that resembles Ivan Reitman’s Twins.

Separated by adoption when they were just lads, football-obsessed Nobby (Baron Cohen, sporting some Oasis-worthy muttonchops) and his brother, Sebastian (Strong), are reunited 28 years later. Nobby, the proud but unfunny soccer hooligan and father of 10 has spent his life procreating, searching for his brother, and letting go with a stream of equally crappy gags that involve every bodily orifice you can think of. It’s cheap, bullshit humor, and some of the Brit-centric yuks will likely leave Yanks scratching their heads. Bottom line: This is Baron Cohen’s worst film, period. Let him get on with assuming another obscure identity, then let him loose on the presidential candidates. Now that would be a kick!

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