Grimsby aka The Brothers Grimsby (2016)

(On Cable TV, October 2016) There are two movies competing for attention Grimsby, and one of them is far better than the other. There’s the somewhat energetic spy thriller, featuring Mark Strong doing what he does best as a no-nonsense special operative trying to stop a terrorist plot. That part of the movie is directed with glee and energy by Louis Leterrier (a veteran when it comes to special-effects-heavy spectacle), goes by smoothly even as it doesn’t reinvent the genre. But then there’s the other movie, the crude gross-out comedy that focuses on Sacha Baron Cohen usual brand of comic vulgarity. Racing to the bottom of offensiveness, Grimsby features … well, I’m not going to describe it if it’s going to either disturb or intrigue you. Suffice to say that as the film uses the spy-movie framework for lowbrow gags, Grimsby becomes increasingly dispiriting. If there’s a case to be made about wasted time, money and effort in the service of something that makes the world worse for existing … yes, this is a serious contender for worst-movie-of-the-year status. Or would be if it wasn’t for the few sequences that manage to shake off its particularly revolting humour in favour of some solid action beats. Oh well; at least the movie was a box-office failure, mitigating the risks that we’ll ever see a sequel.

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