Yob meets spy in irreverent Cohen satire

DOUBLE OH-NO: It's class warfare as Cohen (right, with Strong) takes aim at videogame violence, English hooligans and beauty standards in the spy comedy The Brothers Grimsby. Those with a weak constitution might want to brace themselves for the flick's vulgar language and nudity.


    Mar 10, 2016

    Yob meets spy in irreverent Cohen satire


    Comedy/83 minutes/Opens today

    Rating: 4/5

    The story:

    English football hooligan Nobby (Sacha Baron Cohen) is unexpectedly reunited with his brother Sebastian (Mark Strong), who is now an MI6 agent. Together, they uncover a conspiracy that takes them from their hometown of Grimsby to South Africa, where they prepare for a showdown at the World Cup finals.

    THIS movie is wicked.

    Not just wickedly funny, although it is, but also wickedly sharp in its lampooning of our social norms.

    Cohen takes digs at violent computer games, loutish English pub culture, concepts of beauty (he cannot keep his hands off a brilliant Rebel Wilson, and later on a bemused Gabourey Sidibe) - and that is just in the first 10 minutes.

    Don't be fooled, this is still a Cohen movie so all this satire is hidden beneath a thick layer of grotesque parody that will offend the faint of heart.

    And it makes full use of its R21 rating as well. You name it, this movie's got it: F-bombs, crotch shots, gratuitous nudity (and no, not the sexy kind).

    Aside from the two leads (who knew Strong had a funny bone?), the other characters are forgettably textbook - Penelope Cruz and Isla Fisher are woefully underused.

    That said, there is some structure to this chaos, like clever running gags with fireworks, Aids, England's World Cup hopes and hooligans with weaponised billiard balls and wheelchairs.

    I never liked the shock humour of Borat. In The Brothers Grimsby, Cohen manages to walk the fine line between wince-inducing humour and gag-inducing grossness.

    But yeah, that elephant sex scene. Yowch.