Movie Date: The Brothers Grimsby (R21)
Guys will have an appetite for Cohen's comeback, but it'll leave a bad taste with the girls.
STARRING: Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Strong, Penelope Cruz, Rebel Wilson, Isla Fisher
DIRECTOR: Louis Leterrier
THE SKINNY: English football hooligan Nobby (Cohen) is unexpectedly reunited with his brother Sebastian (Strong), who is now an MI6 agent. Together, they uncover a conspiracy that takes them from their hometown of Grimsby to South Africa, where they prepare for a showdown at the World Cup finals.
MARS by SOLOMON LIM
This movie is wicked.
Not just wickedly funny, although it is, but wickedly sharp in its lampooning of our social norms.
Cohen takes digs at violent computer games, loutish English pub culture, concepts of beauty (he cannot keep his hands off a brilliant Rebel Wilson, and later on a bemused Gabourey Sidibe) - and that is just in the first 10 minutes.
Don't be fooled, this is still a Sacha Baron Cohen movie, so all this satire is hidden beneath a thick layer of grotesque parody that will offend the faint of heart.
And it makes full use of its R21 rating as well. You name it, this movie's got it: F-bombs, crotch shots, gratuitous nudity (and no, not the sexy kind).
Aside from the two leads (who knew Strong had a funny bone?), the other characters are forgettably textbook - Cruz and Fisher are woefully underused.
That said, there is some structure to this chaos, like clever running gags with fireworks, Aids, England's World Cup hopes and hooligans with weaponised billiard balls and wheelchairs.
I never liked the shock humour of Borat. In The Brothers Grimsby, Cohen manages to walk the fine line between wince-inducing humour and gag-inducing grossness.
But yeah, that elephant sex scene. Yowch.
VENUS by LISA TWANG
I'm a huge fan of Cohen's previous personas Borat and Ali G, but I'm not at all fond of Nobby.
Among his arsenal of lovable idiot characters, Nobby is unfortunately closer to the idiot end of the scale.
Borat was charmingly naive and peppered his remarks with quaint exclamations like "Jagshemash" and "Wa wa wee wa!"
Ali G had swagger and quotable lines like "Booyakasha" and "Big up yaself".
Not only does Nobby lack a catchphrase, he is a bumbling welfare cheat who jeopardises his brother's missions, with few redeeming qualities save for his love for Sebastian.
While I've heartily endorsed Cohen's previous films, I would hesitate to recommend this one.
Not because of the filthy humour and questionable gags, like the now infamous elephant sex scene (which was actually pretty funny).
It's because I miss the social satire that Cohen's films used to have.
The Brothers Grimsby feels like it's making fun of its characters without having anything deeper or more intelligent to say about them.
Its message that the likes of Nobby, "the scum that keep the Fast & Furious franchise alive", are people too falls rather flat.
The Brothers Grimsby is good for a crude laugh, but not much more.
THE CONSENSUS: Guys will have an appetite for Cohen's comeback, but it'll leave a bad taste with the girls.