THE BLOG

'Grimsby': Much Grimmer Than I Thought

01/03/2016 12:44 GMT | Updated 01/03/2017 10:12 GMT

When I go to the cinema, no matter how dreadful the acting, how poor the dialogue or how illogical the plot, out of respect for the creative process and the hard work and efforts of all those involved (to put it another way, I'm such a tightwad and want to get my money's worth), I always refrain from getting up and leaving early. Ok, sometimes for a good part of the film's duration, I might not actually be awake, but at least come the end, I've just about managed to remain in my seat.

I was still in it in 1986 for Shanghai Surprise. I was still in it in 1995 for Showgirls - a camp cult classic not to be missed. And I was still in it in 1998 for the Avengers, which is so excruciatingly painful, you can imagine it being used as a form of torture in North Korea with those subjected to its repeated viewing eventually begging to face the firing squad. Unsubstantiated reports out of British Intelligence suggest that since 2012, Ml5 and Ml6 might alternatively have been using the Ray Cooney directed Run For Your Wife, starring Danny Dyer, to elicit information from those who seek to undermine our national security.

I was also still in my seat in 2004 for the very final frame of Catwoman. I was still in it in 2013 for Movie 43, although subsequently I found out that this might have had more to do with the slight hallucinogenic effects of the medications I was on. Finally, as hard as it is to believe, I was still in it only last year for Taken 3, whereas I should really have been taken by aliens for the entire 109 minutes and experimented on to check that I had a brain.

But on Saturday February 27, 2016 as the closing credits rolled on Grimsby; in Seat 7, Row G, Screen 10 of the Cineworld West India Quay, my backside was nowhere to be seen. Instead, it was in the saddle of my bicycle fleeing the cinematic crime scene.

Judging by the reviews I'd read, I knew it wasn't going to be great, but I had no idea it was going to be quite so bad.

Before the climax, I decided enough was enough and walked out. Something I've never done before.

I hesitate to use the word 'climax' in relation to any movie that subjects its audience to the spectacle of a herd of ejaculating elephants spraying their seed into the faces of the two main characters who find themselves hiding from their pursuers in the vagina of some unsuspecting and unfortunate Nellie.

This latest oeuvre from Sacha Baron Cohen follows in the footsteps and indeed shares the same major failing as certain other films of recent years, including Keith Lemon: the film, The Harry Hill Movie and Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie, i.e. It's simply not funny.

This surely must mean it has breached the Trades Description Act 1968 to some degree. After all, it's out there representing itself as something it obviously isn't. Namely, a comedy.

What it is, in fact, is nothing short of a tedious and turgid insult: an insult to those in it (Penelope, what were you thinking of? From Vicky Christina Barcelona to this?), those who bother to watch it through to its sorry conclusion and those it chooses to lambast.

Forget the disadvantaged, overweight and hard up who loom so large - the scum as the very un-PC Mr. B.C. terms them. They're just too easy a target. Even someone totally devoid of humour, not to mention partially sighted and blindfolded could hit them from a mile away.

It's the running joke about HIV that rankles. It isn't so much that it's offensive. That would be fine if only it were remotely amusing. (One day there may be a genuinely hysterical film or sitcom about the disease that's blighted the lives of millions, but you can probably be rest assured that it won't be heralding from the pen of this so called comic genius).

The problem is that it's not accurately portrayed. Plus, saying HIV one minute and AIDS the next, only confuses the terms in the minds of people and serves to increase stigmatisation.

Showing Daniel Radcliffe (a doppelgänger, incidentally) looking sick and on the brink of death is wrong, despite it being for comedic effect. If he had contracted the virus, he'd in all likelihood be on medication and would therefore be fit and healthy. To suggest anything less is both negligent and stupid.

There, that's my little rant and lecture over with.

Sadly, the single person that Grimsby - perhaps better referred to as Take the Money and Run - insults more than any other is Sacha himself. It makes us scurry back to re-examine his back catalogue (not a euphemism for anything, although within the confines of this rubbish, it might as well be) to check whether we weren't just imagining his talent all along.

Safe to report that Borat remains a hoot, Bruno continues to contain a few laugh out loud moments and The Dictator still raises the odd smile. Even Ali G Indahouse has sort of stood the test of time if you want a juvenile chuckle.

Let's hope his next film, whatever it might be and whenever it arrives is better than his current one.

In the meantime, we can relish the prospect of a whole raft of similarly side-splitting British comedy gems this year. Among them; Life on the Road (charting the next uproarious chapter in the career of The Office's David Brent), Bridget Jones's Baby (or if you prefer, Bridget Jones: Beyond all Reason) and Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (along with practically every other film with a colon in its name, it's likely to be absolutely...).

I find myself looking forward to each of them so much, I'm already getting fidgety and heading towards the multiplex's exit.