Grimsby | Review

Sacha Baron Cohen is an idiot, but that’s OK, he just doesn’t appeal to my sense of humour and just makes crass rubbish that pushes acceptability, he is like a living Jackass movie. He has mass appeal to teenage boys who love the ganja, boobs and excessive use of tissues. His latest film, GRIMSBY, is out now from the folks at Roadshow Films. Imagine KINGSMAN crossed with a movie about an idiot tool played by that guy from BORAT. The movie is so good we pulled Kernel John McParland out of cryogenic sleep to attend. GRIMSBY runs for 83mins and is rated MA15+. Enjoy John’s review, it is better than the movie……all the best……JK.


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A while ago, I wrote about a truly memorable film called THE ROOM. Not good memorable mind you, but memorable in the sense that it was so horribly bad I will never be able to forget it. My language in that review was less than kind to my jerk of a friend Ben who asked me to go and see that movie with him, so much so that Salty editor and owner, JK, coined the hashtag #poorBen as some small consolation to my bastard compadre. I would like to take this opportunity now to revive that old moniker and apply it in new light. You see, when two tickets to see writer, producer, and star Sacha Baron Cohen’s new film GRIMSBY crossed my desk, I thought to myself “you know who likes terrible movies? Ben does!” So, here is to you #poorBen, not because I am going to assault you in print again, but because I made you sit through an hour and a half of GRIMSBY, which was more of a sensorial beating than I could ever manage.

GRIMSBY follows the misadventure of Norman “Nobby” Butcher, played by Cohen (THE DICTATOR), in his search to reunite with his long lost brother Sebastian, played by Mark Strong (KINGSMAN). Nobby is a moronic, useless, dole bludging deadbeat from the seaport town of Grimsby, while Sebastian is an incredibly talented and ruthless MI6 secret agent. Separated when they were only children by the State’s foster care system upon the death of their parents, Nobby dedicates himself to finding his younger sibling. Through a twist of fate, a chance encounter throws the two of them back together. However, the Butcher brother’s reunion is cut short when Sebastian is wrongfully accused of a crime he did not commit. Forced to go on the run from the very government he was trying to protect, Sebastian must rely on the bumbling antics of his idiotic brother for assistance, as he continues on his mission to save the world.


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Directed by Louis Leterrier (NOW YOU SEE ME), GRIMSBY fails to hit almost every mark imaginable. The casting is questionable and the acting very ordinary. While Cohen’s films may never be inducted into any self respecting hall of fame, you can usually rely on him writing and portraying remarkable characters, like Borat, even if the only reasons you remember such personas are for their cringe-worthy nature. Nobby, on the other hand, is as forgettable as the names of his nine children. Lacking the usual punch and outlandish behaviour of Cohen’s other protagonists, Nobby’s crassness does not standout above the mediocrity of the rest of this film. Strong is wooden and unbelievable, trying far too hard to be as opposite in character and temperament to Nobby as possible. So much so, that he streaks past the wonderfully perfect level of “prim and proper gentleman” he displayed in KINGSMAN, and enters the realm of cartoon ludicrousness.

The film also stars Cohen’s wife and Australia’s own Isla Fisher in a pointless support role as Sebastian’s technical assistant (much like James Bond’s quartermaster, Q), while another Aussie actor Rebel Wilson plays Nobby’s girlfriend. Other than running the odd Google search, Fisher provides little actual aid or plot relevance, with an awful English accent that she never manages to nail. The always one-dimensional Wilson embraces pretty much the only persona she knows how to play, as the uneducated and promiscuous wild thing with nothing but sex on her mind. Neither of these characters do anything for the film other than assist tangentially in the odd gag.


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And oh my God, the gags. The gags are bad, so, so bad. Toilet and sexual humour run rampant through a cinematic universe that thinks nothing of such things as Nobby sucking highly lethal caterpillar poison out of his brother’s scrotum. Literally, the only reason this scene had to happen was because the bad guys were shooting darts filled with pre pubescent butterfly fluids, instead of actual bullets. And no doubt the only reason they chose to leave their supremely effective munitions back at base camp, was so that this licentious moment could occur, like some weird full-circle, self-fulfilling nightmare of sin. It was like the worst catch-22 of horrendous stupidity imaginable, with the entire audience forced to sit through the awkwardness in communal depravity. And this was one of the tamer jokes in the film! At one point, the whole plot detours crazily to Africa for twenty minutes for no other rationale than to sicken us all with a truly vulgar elephant gangbang skit. Those are three words I never thought I would put together in a sentence, so thanks Cohen, for broadening my linguistic horizons…


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This is not to say I did not find myself laughing throughout most of the scenes, but it was never a laugh I felt good about. As a person, I mean. Kind of like when someone suddenly turns up the treadmill speed on an unsuspecting exerciser, and you see them face plant before being rocketed across the floor. You know you should not laugh, but Goddamn is it hard to suppress that chuckle as you watch them desperately try to pick up the pace, flailing wildly to grab at the support bars. Time seems to slow as you recognise that moment of realisation in their face when they know they are not going to make it and their legs start to go out from under them. Then everything speeds up as their face gets smooshed into the track before they go pinwheeling across the room. It is funny as all hell, and even if you do manage to hold in your guffaw, you are cackling like a hyena on the inside, while at the same time hating yourself for the truly uncaring person you are. So laugh I did at Cohen’s tasteless jokes, before going home and trying to scour the shame off myself with steel wool.

Some clever first person view action scenes do little to save this movie overall, though those were definitely interesting to watch. After hearing Ben mutter and exclaim in anguish throughout the film, I asked him for his three word descriptive opinion as we were leaving the cinema. Not normally one to shy from a challenge, his first two terms were “sloppy” and “gross.” After a long pause thinking about his third word, Ben turned to me and said “I, I literally cannot find the words to describe how bad that movie made me feel…”

Easily the worst of his films to date, catch this one only if you are a hardcore Cohen fan, or face the prospect of becoming like #poorBen, silently staring off into the distance as he tries to recapture some semblance of his sanity and soul. On the plus side, we saw an awesome trailer for SUICIDE SQUAD before the film began. Maybe I will take Ben to see that. Make up for the travesty that was GRIMSBY.


2 Pops



A lifelong lover of the silver screen, Kernel John strives to engage and entertain his audience through the shameless use of humour in his reviews, even when it probably isn’t warranted. When not musing for Salty, you can often find John bouncing between his extreme states of either puppy watching down by the beach, or reflecting on the deepest mysteries of the Universe.

** All images courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor/publisher – credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.


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