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Wrongfully accused and on the run, a top MI6 assassin joins forces with his long-lost, football hooligan brother to save the world from a sinister plot.
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Grimsby movie full length review - It won't win Baron Cohen any new fans but those who know what to expect from him should find this reasonably enjoyable
Nobby (Sacha Baron Cohen) lives in Grimsby with his numerous children and his girlfriend Dawn (Rebel Wilson). Nobby is a jobless football hooligan/lager lout and seems quite content with his chosen lifestyle.
The only thing missing in Nobby's life is his younger brother Sebastian (Mark Strong) whom he hasn't seen for 28 years after they were both separated and fostered by separate families. Sebastian's life is completely different to Nobby's in that he is an M16 Black Ops agent. Thanks to his brother's interference, Sebastian's attempts to prevent an assassination fail and as a result of this his company hire a contract killer to murder Sebastian. Sebastian now finds himself on the run whilst he simultaneously tries to complete his mission. Due to his predicament, Sebastian reluctantly enlists the help of his rather incompetent brother....
Whilst Baron Cohen's films are pretty crude and whilst Baron Cohen generally aims for easy targets he does, more often than not, try to inject some sort of social critique into many of his films. Here, he offers a critique on social standing and it's probably fair to say that this may not be the most accessible of films to those outside of the UK. In Britain, we have a big problem with men and women having several children and then expecting the state to pay for them (the government keep threatening to put a 'cap' on the amount of benefits that parents are able to claim, but whether this ever happens or not is another matter). Baron Cohen is merely making light of something that is a relatively big problem in the UK and for the most part he does this in an amusing way (I think one of his kids is a father to a kid that is older than his youngest kid) which sadly is something that is more and more common these days. Those of a sensitive disposition need to be aware of what they're getting themselves into as Baron Cohen does push his jokes a little too far sometimes - him pretending that one of his kids has leukaemia in order to claim additional benefits and a joke about Ricky Tomlinson's character being a registered sex offender are perhaps examples of taking the jokes too far.
One aspect that does serve the film well is the chemistry and camaraderie between the two leading men; Baron Cohen is excellent here and whenever he plays a character on screen you can tell that he puts a lot of time and effort into perfecting his character - here he is a jobless northern football hooligan/lager lout. He is so convincing in everything that he is in that I often forget that I am watching an actor and the fact that he is so diverse means that we'll probably be seeing Baron Cohen on our screens for many years to come. Strong was also excellent effectively playing the 'straight man' to Baron Cohen and deserves as much recognition as Baron Cohen himself. The way that Strong delivers a lot of the funny material in a 'dead-pan' manner was just wonderful.
One thing that did concern me when the film started was the number of people in the cast list; this film has the likes of Ian McShane, Isla Fisher, Rebel Wilson, Penelope Cruz, Ricky Tomlinson, Johnny Vegas. The film is chocked full of household names, but in an 80 minute film it was always going to be a problem giving all of these people the screen time that they deserve. As the villain of the piece, Penelope Cruz is given no real development and only shows up a few times. Rebel Wilson is reduced to little more than being one 'fat joke' which is a pity as I felt she had much more to offer. The likes of Johnny Vegas, Ricky Tomlinson, and Ian McShane also add little to the film. Isla Fisher is important to the story, but again it felt like Baron Cohen just added her to the cast list because she's his wife. To me a lot of it just felt like a relatively talented cast were wasted.
As with most Sacha Baron Cohen films the story in itself is rather weak - although to be fair it is slightly better developed than some of his other offerings. Therefore your enjoyment of this film really will depend on whether you find the content and the material funny (which I generally did which is why I'm giving the film a passable score). Whilst Baron Cohen does generally go for easy targets he can be quite imaginative at times - I thought the opening scene and the closing credits showcased some of Baron Cohen's imagination and as far as I'm concerned these sequences were the funniest moments in the film.
Grimsby doesn't quite match the brilliance of some of Baron Cohen's earlier films (such as Ali G Indahouse or Borat), but there's enough imagination and enough laughs on offer to keep Baron Cohen's fanbase happy.
Side note; if nothing else the film is worth watching just to see what happens to Donald Trump at the end.