The Brothers Grimsby

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
The Brothers Grimsby Movie Poster Image
Gross-out comedy is obsessed with bodily fluids, sex, guns.
  • R
  • 2016
  • 83 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 11 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Amid the over-the-top content is the message that family should be the most important aspect of your life. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Despite his many flaws, Nobby is a loving older brother who never stopped looking for or thinking about his younger brother, Sebastian. And Sebastian grows to care for and protect Nobby. Margaret is a great friend and helper to Sebastian.


There's a high body count: People die from gunshot wounds (some on purpose, some by accident), explosions, loads of weapon injuries, etc. Nobby discovers he has a knack for shooting people dead with a gun. Other violent scenes (played for laughs) involve anal injuries -- like when an elephant penis rams into Nobby's backside, seriously bruising it, or when the brothers stop fireworks laced with a virus from exploding and end up with gaping holes where their anal region used to be (it's shown and made fun of). A child stricken with HIV/AIDS is hurt, and his blood infects two internationally renowned figures.


Brief shot of a woman's breasts. Tons of extremely crass sexual jokes and references and explicit references to oral sex (in one close-up, Nobby gives oral sex to a woman he believes he needs to seduce for his spy work). Movie opens with a sex scene that turns out to be public love-making at a mattress store. Nobby and his partner are very sexual; the first time they reunite, they nearly have sex in front of Sebastian. In an extended scene, Nobby must suck poison from two places on Sebastian's body: his shoulder and his testicle; the way the scene plays out, it appears to others to be a sexual act. The brothers hide in a female elephant's uterus, only to have to deal with her mate's penis thrusting inside. They must hasten the bull elephant's release, at which point a flood of semen sprays both men. Afterward, a parade of male elephants waits to mount the cow. Also anal insertion jokes; on more than one occasion, Nobby inserts a firework into his bum. Attempted seduction. Several scenes show women in bras/underwear and men whose naked butts are about to show.


Near-constant profanity, including "f--k," "c--t," "twat," "p---y," "bastard," "s--t," "arse," "bitch," etc. Some words spoken by young children.


Jaguar, Land Rover, Range Rover.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Lots of drinking, mostly in pubs, but also in hotels and at dinners. Nobby drinks an entire tray's worth of champagne; he also swipes bottles and mini-bottles to drink wherever he is -- even on the verge of a near-death experience. Nobby befriends a South African drug mule who gives him heroin; Sebastian accidentally injects himself with it. Also lots of cigarette smoking; at one point, a father tells his young son "I told you not to smoke," to which the boy responds "I thought you meant not to smoke crack," and the father clarifies, "I meant cigarettes, at your age you should only be vaping." One character smokes multiple cigarettes at a time, particularly after nerve-wracking sexual assaults/encounters. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Brothers Grimsby is an extremely crass spy comedy starring Mark Strong and Sacha Baron Cohen. As you might expect from the man behind Borat and Ali G, there's a lot of envelope-pushing, offensive content -- like men hiding in a female elephant's uterus as she's mounted repeatedly by male elephants who find their release inside her ... and all over them. And that's just one of the many raunchy, crude sequences involving bodily fluids and orifices (fireworks are inserted inside bums on more than one occasion, etc.). There are also frequent references to and jokes about sex, particularly oral sex, seduction, mating animals, and even HIV/AIDS; a woman's breasts are seen briefly, and there are other sex scenes, too. The movie's action leads to a high body count via gunshots, explosions, and more. Characters drink and smoke a ton, and there's extreme language in nearly every scene, with many uses of "f--k," "c--t," "s--t," "bitch," and more. All of that said, if you dig far below the boorish, gross-out humor, there's an underlying message about the importance of family. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byDaddio74 August 30, 2019

Couldn’t Finish It.

Other reviewers have described the attempts at comedy in this movie as “gross-out,” “raunchy,” or “slapstick.” We may need some context, here. “Gross-out” is t... Continue reading
Adult Written byAngelistic-101 February 3, 2019

A very, very, VERY raunchy movie!

I'm still trying to process the elephant scene. Yup, there is literally a scene where the 2 main protagonists are inside a female elephant's vagina an... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bySxvage July 23, 2020
Teen, 14 years old Written byNetflixisawesome June 8, 2020

Hilarious but very inappropriate!!

Absolutely hilarious but at times so inappropriate that I couldn’t watch. Tonnes of swearing but a great film for late teens.

What's the story?

THE BROTHERS GRIMSBY follows the long-separated Butcher brothers, whose lives took drastically different directions from the time they were young orphans. Sebastian (Mark Strong), who was adopted by a wealthy London couple, grows up to be a top MI6 field agent -- aka super spy/assassin -- while Nobby (Sacha Baron Cohen) stayed behind in working-class Grimsby to become a hard-drinking football-club-addicted father of 11. When Nobby's friend of a friend spots Sebastian's name on a charity gala's guest list, Nobby shows up and hugs Sebastian exactly at the moment he's trying to stop an assassination attempt. As a result of the blunder, Sebastian is accused of shooting the head of the World Health Organization and is branded a rogue agent. Tracked by MI6 assassins and the villainous syndicate he was trying to stop, Sebastian must now protect his brother as they try to stop the bad guys before getting killed.

Is it any good?

The occasionally funny (and always crass) gross-out humor of Baron Cohen's comedy pokes fun at the working classes and misses more than it hits with its puerile jokes. It wouldn't be a Baron Cohen movie if there weren't a few close-ups of male genitalia -- and in that regard, The Brothers Grimsby doesn't disappoint: You'll get plenty of junk shots, with Nobby forced to suck poison out of Sebastian's testicle, a cringe-inducing sequence taking place inside a female elephant's uterus while she's being mounted by male elephants with proportionately huge penises, and (of course) countless jokes about orifices, bodily fluids, and genital size. These jokes elicit nervous, awkward laughter at best because they last way too long ... and there's only so long you can laugh at men being sexually assaulted by elephants.

One of the comedy's more uncomfortable aspects is how often it makes fun of Nobby and his friends -- working-class Brits whose lives revolve around their local pub, their football team, and getting completely drunk. Rebel Wilson predictably co-stars as Nobby's girlfriend/the mother of his many children, while Isla Fisher (who's married to Baron Cohen) plays Sebastian's trusted, buttoned-up MI6 handler. Ultimately the comedy relies on the rapport between Baron Cohen and Strong, which has an admittedly odd-couple kind of charm, but there's just too much scatological stuff to sustain a film of even 83 minutes. Of course, audiences made up of predominantly young men will likely disagree.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about The Brothers Grimsby's overtly sexual and vulgar scenes. Are they funny? Why or why not? Who's the intended audience? Why do different people find different things funny?

  • Discuss the violence in the movie. Is it necessary to the story? Does it have as much impact as the crude humor?

  • Some have taken issue with the way the movie makes fun of England's poor, disenfranchised, and unemployed. What do you think? Does it make things worse that Baron Cohen himself has always been wealthy, even before he was a famous comedian?

  • How does the movie compare to Baron Cohen's other films? Do you think his characters are all caricatures?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love comedy and action

Themes & Topics

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