Sacha Baron Cohen is back with yet another dim-witted character creation, which he seems to write and perform so well. After the huge success of the 2006 movie Borat, and the less successful films, Bruno and The Dictator, Cohen now stars in The Brothers Grimsby as a football (soccer) hooligan from the North of England who is trying to find his brother.
Cohen plays Nobby, while Mark Strong plays his brother, Sebastian. When Sebastian is adopted from an orphanage, the two brothers are parted. Now all grown up, Nobby tracks Sebastian down, only to find they both took wildly different paths in life. The U.S. trailer for The Brothers Grimsby has just dropped online and can be viewed, above.
Nobby is a proud Northerner, father to eleven children and more focused on drinking, watching football and impregnating his girlfriend (Rebel Wilson) than climbing any career ladder. Meanwhile Sebastian is one of the world’s most deadly assassins, working as an MI6 agent. When Nobby tracks his brother down, he unwittingly puts Sebastian in danger, and the two end up on the run.
In addition to Cohen and Strong, The Brothers Grimsby has a strong supporting cast, including the aforementioned Rebel Wilson (Pitch Perfect), Isla Fisher, Penelope Cruz, Annabelle Wallis, Ian McShane, and Gabourey Sidibe. The movie is written by Cohen with Phil Johnston (Wreck-It-Ralph) and Peter Baynham (Borat, Bruno). Louis Leterrier (The Transporter, Now You See Me) directs.
The U.S. Brothers Grimsby trailer offers a lot more footage than the previously-released red band trailer, but it still doesn’t make the film look all that great – apart from the action sequences. Probably because of Leterrier’s previous pedigree, the action looks slick, strong and a good watch…only then Cohen comes along and the pace drops in order to give the attention over to his character. It all seems oddly jarring and not in an exciting, innovative way.
There are only so many jokes that can be made about ‘typical English Northerners’ before it becomes too stereotypical and borders on being an offensive pastiche. Of course, it could well be that viewers in countries other than the UK might still find this funny, but Rebel Wilson’s turn as the girlfriend, mother of eleven children, who struggles to remember who she had sex with in a police station just smacks of the childish humor which Cohen often falls back on – and which audiences were tiring of, even by the time Bruno came out in 2009.
It seems a shame, because Cohen really does have a great talent for comedy writing when he sets his mind to it, but he seems all too eager to lean on tried and tested gags rather than branch out into something new. His character is just a rehash of Ali-G, only this time he’s been moved up north and grown his hair. That said, the on-screen relationship between Nobby and Strong’s Sebastian, looks quite good, and Strong plays the straight man well.
If you’ve loved Cohen’s previous work then you might well love this too, and that’s great. It could also be that the action scenes lift this film sufficiently to make it passable, and that’s great too – but based on this trailer, it looks like The Brothers Grimsby really might be grim after all.
The Brothers Grimsby will be released in U.S. theaters on March 4th, 2016.
Source: Sony Pictures