Thursday, 16 June 2016
I shall start with an understatement. I don't know about you, but I have been to Grimsby and I wasn't too impressed. That small coastal town on the eastern shore of middle of nowhere England is a far cry from the associations non-English brains tend to come up with when we lie down and think of England.
It appears this negative impression of mine is yet another trait I share with actor and filmmaker Sasha Baron Cohen. Unlike the latter, though, I did not choose to make a movie out of said impression. Baron Cohen did, though, and the result is his usual shtick of excessive cringe jokes. This time the victim of Baron Cohen's focus is not the poorly population of Uzbekistan but rather the poorly population of England's victims of the class system they've had there since before the days of historical records. But hey, they have the queen, so it's alright [let rich can continue to screw the poor].
Just to give you an example or two, the repertoire of jokes includes a guy having to save another guy's life by sucking poison out of the latter's balls, with all the homophobic images that conjures. Or the same two guys finding themselves in the middle, literally, of a gang of elephants having themselves an orgy.
Ultimately, there is a humanist message in this Grimsby movie, it's just that is too well hidden. Our story takes us through the adventures of two brothers from Grimsby, separated at their early childhood. One grew up to be a James Bond licence to kill type spy (Mark Strong), while the other grew up to be the typical Grimsby resident this movie of exaggerations would like you to imagine: a fat guy (Baron Cohen) married to a fat wife (what exactly is wrong with that?) whose main sport in life is having more kids than names they can remember. The latter couple leads a life funded by welfare and powered by the local pub's beer, as well as lots of overgrown patriotism for the nation that screwed their lives.
As movie plot coincidences often portray, the two brothers shall unite. At first the slob will come in the way of the secret agent, but later the wheels turn and it is the slob that wins the day against terrorism.
Penelope Cruz fills a similar role here to the one she does at Zoolander 2, but - again - she is not enough to save this film. Though not a long movie, Grimsby suffers from advanced incoherence. It is unclear whether it tries to be a cringe jokes machine, a spy movie, or a social statement. It tries to be all three but, ultimately, ends up being just another cycle of the same washing machine program Sasha Baron Cohen has been running us through since his days as Ali G.
Overall: Grimsby will not bore you, but it won't take you places you haven't been before either. I'll be generous and give it 2.5 out of 5 ball sucking crabs.