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Grimsby Review

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by Casimir Harlow Jun 25, 2016

  • Movies review


    Grimsby Review

    With moments of ingenious hilarity, Grimsby is a James Bond-esque spoof infused with extreme buddy-buddy antics. Unfortunately it just goes far too far with its extremities.

    Sebastian Graves is one of MI6's top secret agents; able to infiltrate and take out dozens of gun-toting terrorists, he won't stop until he's taken down his target. But when his long-lost brother, Nobby, finds him in the middle of an operation, things spiral out of control. Wanted for murder, and on the run from his own agency, Sebastian is forced to lay low in his and Nobby's home town of Grimsby and, eventually, forced to come to terms with the fact that he may need Nobby's help if he wants to get out of this mess. Grimsby - also known Stateside as The Brothers Grimsby - cleverly posits a world where everybody takes their roles extremely seriously, and where it's only Sacha Baron Cohen's mishap-prone idiot who stands out in the mix.
    This works extremely well for the Bondian formula, as the pair go chasing terrorists around the world, causing mayhem along the way. Cohen nails the character, and delivers some of his funniest touches in years - not least in his faux secret agent accent, which he feels the need to effect when he is forced to go on a mission, and which sounds like a really bad imitation of Sean Connery's Bond, but also in his (rather pointed) attempt to look like Liam Gallagher as a personal jab at the Oasis frontman - and there are some exceptional comedy moments between him and Mark Strong, whose straight foil is the perfect counterpart to Cohen's over-the-top troublemaker.

    Unfortunately, despite the promise, and the frequently effective delivery, Grimsby elects to - more often than not - go too far in its gag department: a funny sequence involving sucking poison out of a wound goes on about 60 painful seconds too long, and utterly ruins the already-extreme joke; a ridiculous scene involving a herd of elephants (which might as well have been in Tom Green's infamous Freddy Got Fingered) follows suit and, shockingly, feels like it was actually abbreviated from an even longer original cut, despite the fact that the end result here still manages to take gross-out humour to a numbing extreme.

    As with Borat, Bruno and The Dictator, Grimsby has its moments, but simply doesn't know where to stop.

    Grimsby has some great laughs - its self-awareness, pop culture references, high octane action (with an innovative opening POV action sequence), atypical setting and characterisations, and excellent lead cast all hitting the mark - but unfortunately too many of its gags seem intent on making you actually gag. It's one of those movies where you wished there's been a theatrical cut with some of these moments tempered, and where you wish that this version was just the 'extreme' edition that you'd be happy to have as an additional curio, but would be unlikely to ever watch again.

    The Rundown

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