- Actors: Isla Fisher, Gabourey Sidibe, Rebel Wilson, Mark Strong, Barkhad Abdi
- Director: Louis Leterrier
- Producers: Sacha Baron Cohen, Nira Park, Peter Baynham, Todd Schulman, Ant Hines
- Format: Subtitled, Widescreen
- Language: English
- Subtitles: French, English, Spanish
- Dubbed: French
- Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
- Audio Description: English
- Region: All Regions
- Number of discs: 1
- Rated: R
- Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
- Release Date: June 21, 2016
- Digital Copy Expiration Date: December 31, 2019
- Run Time: 83 minutes
Sacha Baron Cohen’s original three characters from “Da Ali G Show,” and their subsequent individual theatrical films, were highlighted by their ability to shock in a way that was simultaneously amusing and intelligently satirical. While his latest endeavor, The Brothers Grimsby, certainly lives up to the shock value, it is done for mindless puerile amusement rather than social commentary. While this may provide a few chuckles for an evening’s entertainment, The Brothers Grimsby has more to say about the spy film genre than any real-world issues. Although there are a few jokes about gun violence which could be construed as relevant, the silliness overpowers any commentary. On the other hand, he does use the film to give Donald Trump aids, which should count for something.
The ridiculousness of the film’s plot is saved by the fact that even the filmmakers seem to be mocking the silliness of it. Sacha Baron Cohen and Mark Strong play brothers separated during childhood, setting each on completely different paths in life. So, this is essentially Twins with more action, and ironically less Schwarzenegger. Sebastian (Strong) is a top MI6 Agent and Nobby (Baron Cohen) is a slovenly soccer hooligan living in their childhood town of Grimsby. Orphaned at a young age, the pair was separated when Sebastian was adopted. Decades later Nobby finally manages to rediscover his brother during a crucial moment in one of Sebastian’s missions. Nobby becomes entangled and the two predictably become reunited as they must depend on each other again in order to survive.
This dynamic, as predictable as it may be within the buddy cop comedy sub-genre, is effectively reliant upon the chemistry between the two leads, which works decently enough with Strong and Baron Cohen. At times their dynamic becomes irrelevant in the many subplots and detours featuring occasionally awkward cameos and supporting roles. Penelope Cruz is effortless as a femme fatale actress that becomes involved, and the same could be said of Rebel Wilson, who plays the only type of character she ever seems to play as Nobby’s wife. Insert countless self deprecating fat jokes, this time with a British accent. Baron Cohen’s wife, Isla Fisher, is also shoehorned into a padded role as Sebastian’s girlfriend and/or contact at MI6, and Gabourey Sidloyi gives another stilted performance as an African maid.
As strange as this may sound, there are certain action sequences within The Brothers Grimsby that work better than a majority of the comedy. Most of the credit for this is owed to French director, Louis Leterrier, known for high octane blockbusters such as The Transporter, The Incredible Hulk and Clash of the Titans. Some of the earlier sequences are highlighted by some POV photography that made me wish he had also been the director for the nauseating action film, Hardcore Henry. The humor is about what you would expect from Baron Cohen, though his narrative features often tend to depend too much on sophomoric shock value than cleverness and wittiness. I suppose it is all about preference.
Exclusive to the Blu-ray release, along with the high definition presentation of the action sequences (and some of the grosser moments too), is a featurette called “The Elephant in the Room.” Those who have seen the film, or even some of the trailers, this is one of the film’s grossest moments of purposeful shock value. There are also deleted/extended scenes and a blooper reel included exclusively on the Blu-ray disc. Also in the extras are a making-of featurette and a series of alternate lines from some of the film’s funnier improvised moments. Also included with the Blu-ray is a Digital HD copy.
Entertainment Value: 7.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 6.5/10
Historical Significance: 4/10
Special Features: 7/10