Sacha Baron Cohen enjoyed worldwide success with his 2006 movie, Borat, which took over $260 million at the worldwide box office - while also coining several catchphrases and bringing further notoriety to Cohen’s wider range of characters, including Ali G and Bruno. However, subsequent films starring Cohen, including the aforementioned Bruno and The Dictator, failed to capture the same success and popularity, with many feeling like Cohen’s brand of humor had run its course.
Undeterred, he is back again, this time heading to the big screen to star as the idiotic brother of a top British spy. The Brothers Grimsby (formerly known just as Grimsby), sees Mark Strong playing a black ops agent who is forced to go on the run with his football hooligan brother (Cohen) when things at work take a turn for the worse. The first red band trailer for the movie has dropped online and can be viewed, above.
The Brothers Grimsby is billed as an action comedy, and is written (unsurprisingly) by Cohen, along with Phil Johnston (Wreck-It Ralph) and Peter Baynham (Borat, Bruno). Louis Leterrier is directing and he's a great choice for the action side of the movie, since his previous credits include The Transporter, The Incredible Hulk and Now You See Me. In addition to Cohen and Strong, the cast includes Rebel Wilson, Isla Fisher, Penelope Cruz, Annabelle Wallis, Ian McShane, and Gabourey Sidibe.
The Brothers Grimsby has been pushed back from its original release date of summer 2015 and will now arrive in March 2016. Presumably this was to avoid the influx of spy based movies we have had this year, including Kingsman: The Secret Service and Spectre - especially given that The Brothers Grimsby was originally billed as a parody of the James Bond franchise.
Unfortunately for The Brothers Grimsby, this initial trailer lacks nearly everything that makes Bond movies, and even Bond trailers, so great. The opening action sequence is heavy, and it’s been shot well. Strong looks impressive and you can be forgiven for thinking you’re watching a different film altogether... Only then Cohen appears with Wilson and kind of ruins the whole thing.
The attempt at humor feels stale and tired. Cohen is certainly a talent, but his style seems outdated now, and it’s time to come up with something new to keep audiences interested. He might be hoping that this film is different enough to bring his popularity back, and it could be, if the humor wasn’t so old hat. It seems a shame, when the action sequences seem so good. Maybe future trailers will give us a better view of the film overall, and maybe the comedy will blend in better with the action to give a passable action/comedy. There is also the possibility that seeing Cohen and Strong playing off against each other will bring more laughs... but it seems unlikely.
The Brothers Grimsby will be released in U.S. theaters on March 4th, 2016.