Went to see the new Sasha Baron Cohen spy comedy The Brothers Grimsby. This is the one about the lower class English soccer hooligan teaming up with his long lost brother, an MI6 super spy. Whatever you may think of the trailers, one thing that is implied is that there’s some raunchy comedy in the film. But, oh boy, they do not even approach the level of low-brow gross-out humor this movie shoves in your face (or spills on your face, or forcefully ejects into your face, whatever).
There’s a scene in this movie that goes so far over the top with the gross out that I wound up laughing. Not necessarily at the comedy (which wasn’t bad) but at the sheer go-for-broke commitment they put into the joke. It was kind of like some of the laughs in There’s Something About Mary where you’re laughing because it’s just so wrong… and while Mary is not nearly as shocking now as it was then, this movie completely one-ups that movie… or maybe it two-ups it… three? I dunno. I won’t spoil the sequence… but it involves elephants and if you think I’m just talking scatological comedy, you’re mind isn’t nearly deep enough in the gutter.
And I’m really kind of ok with that because it was (embarrassing-to-say-it) kind of funny but, more to the point, the comedy in the rest of the movie, while hit and miss, still made me laugh enough. The gross-out scenes (of which there are a few others) are not the only level of the comedy.
Plus there’s some legitimately cool spy action sequences that kind of surprised me by how well they were handled (the director is more an action guy than a comedy guy). They were a little shaky-cam but that’s partially ok because a lot of it was a first-person perspective (the spy has a camera contact lens). It was certainly more energetic and propulsive than I expected.
So, yes, this is a cautious, not super-enthusiastic recommendation for the movie. I laughed enough at the comedy, I was into enough of the action, and even if all the comedy – gross-out and otherwise – doesn’t land, at least the movie utterly commits. But if you don’t like gross-out / raunchy comedy, stay far far far away from this flick. You will never be able to watch a nature documentary about elephants again.