(US/UK - 2016)
Directed by Louis Leterrier. Written by Sacha Baron Cohen, Phil Johnston and Peter Baynham. Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Strong, Penelope Cruz, Isla Fisher, Rebel Wilson, Gabourey Sidibe, Ian McShane, Barkhad Abdi, Scott Adkins, Tamsin Egerton, Sam Hazeldine, Nick Boraine, Annabelle Wallis, Ricky Tomlinson, David Harewood, Yusuf Hafri. (R, 83 mins)
With his mockumentaries BORAT (2006) and BRUNO (2009), Sacha Baron Cohen displayed a razor sharp wit in his holding up a funhouse mirror to America seen through the eyes of outsiders. He continued in a similar vein with the narrative comedy THE DICTATOR (2012). But with THE BROTHERS GRIMSBY, his latest scripting and starring effort, Baron Cohen pretty much abandons any kind of social/political commentary and goes straight for the grossout/raunch crowd, displaying a positively Sandlerian level of crude laziness with gags that play like he stole them from the dumpster outside the Farrelly Brothers' office. Baron Cohen is too smart to confuse any of this for bold transgression. The sole saving grace is the seething slow burn of veteran character actor Mark Strong, who manages to maintain his dignity to a point--that point being when Baron Cohen's script has him drenched in elephant cum. Twice. In what must set a new standard in damning with faint praise, the best thing one can say about THE BROTHERS GRIMSBY is that it's marginally better than DIRTY GRANDPA.