Directed by Louis Leterrier
Written by Sacha Baron Cohen, Phil Johnston, and Peter Baynham
Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Strong, Rebel Wilson, Penélope Cruz, Isla Fisher, and Gabourey Sidibe
Sacha Baron Cohen is a talented comedic actor, but based on the diminishing quality of his work as a writer/producer since 2006’s “Borat” he is in danger of falling into the same category as Adam Sandler. “Bruno” was “Borat” with a gay man, “The Dictator,” I saw when it came out, and I do not recall it being that great. “The Brothers Grimsby” is the start of the slide from being excited about a forthcoming Baron Cohen project to saying “oh boy, another Baron Cohen movie.” The real crime of “The Brothers Grimsby” is that it fails as both comedy and an action film.
As a comedy “The Brothers Grimsby” is full of Baron Cohens stock and trade: edgy humor. Although more like “edgy,” at this point. I refer to it as “edgy” because I do not see anything that is boundary pushing anymore. The days of using intelligent wit and wordplay replaced by pushing raunchy jokes and gags farther than your competition. Although to its credit, there is a joke that I thought landed well at the start of the movie. The jokes and gags in the film are raunchy just to be raunchy, and result in more eye rolls than laughs.“The Brothers Grimsby” showcases how the edgy comedy Baron Cohen showed in “Borat” has grown dull.
As an action movie “The Brothers Grimsby” is head scratching. Louis Leterrier tries to use the first person perspective, well, more like quickly cuts between the first person and the standard perspective. The quick cuts are nauseating, the use of the first person and, for that matter, the action scenes feel out of place in the movie. “The Brothers Grimsby” has this weird juxtaposition of comedy and action that gives the movie tones that are constantly at odds with each other.
For the steaming pile of you know what that “The Brothers Grimsby” is, the only part of the movie that is any good is the flashbacks that develop the relationship between the two brothers, played by Baron Cohen and Mark Strong. These moments were nostalgic, sweet, and hinted at a much better movie: a family drama. “The Brothers Grimsby” should have been a family drama, because the relationship between the brothers and the reconnection work. That is weird considering that the movie is an action/comedy.