What did I just see? My eyes, my ears… aaaarrggghhh…. Sacha Baron Cohen returns to the big screen with his latest incarnation, Nobby Butcher in Grimsby.
Nobby, proud Grimsby resident, father of nine, devout England fan and self-proclaimed scum finally finds his long lost younger brother, Sebastian, after 28 years. During their time apart Sebastian has become a MI6 agent, worlds apart from having a kick about with his brother around the back streets of Grimsby.
Due directly to this unexpected reunion with Nobby, Sebastian is wrongly accused of an attempted assassination resulting in him uncovering a plot to poison the world in order to rid it of the ‘scum’. Therefore, the brothers must clear his name and save the world. No problem for these likely lads right?
Shortly after an intro into Nobby’s council house life- style, we are introduced to his super-spy brother Sebastian brilliantly played by Mark Strong. The comedy is paused somewhat as we are treated to the first of many excellent POV action sequences. These set pieces work very well and wouldn’t look out of place in any of the high-octane action franchise. (If you enjoy this wait until you see Hardcore Henry, release later in the year.) The action works so well thanks to Transporter and Incredible Hulk director Louis Leterrier; maybe he should direct a Bond movie? I digress, we are here for the comedy, so how does Sacha Baron Cohen latest creation weight up?
Firstly, do not expect a clever Borat-style mockumentary this is a straight up action comedy of the grossest kind. For every obvious joke that falls flat, there are some that are fresh and new. The film is paced well and moves along smoothly. Not once did I look at my watch or drift off into my own thoughts, Grimsby kept my whole attention. Fearless or maybe shameless Cohen pushes the boundaries to the max and beyond. Jokes about Gun culture and a miss communication involving a blocked toilet show sparks of genius and I happily belly laughed at these unashamedly. Don’t worry there is an actual narrative around these characters, every gross over the top joke is juxtaposed with a sentimental brotherly back-story. So, you do get rest bite from the ludicrous and crude comedy. However, you should prepare yourself as this film means to shock the laughs out of you more often than not.
It was the representation of the Grimsby people that I was unsure about, what is Cohen trying to say? Is he making fun of how people view the likes of Nobby Butcher and his large brood of kids or are we supposed to just feel a little uncomfortable? Is it a satire of the British class system or just simply a gross-out comedy? I’m not sure, but we had a good laugh all the same. If you’re not easily offended and just simply want a laugh go see Grimsby, switch off your brain, and moral compass, and enjoy.
Reviewed by Ian Wright.