Love him or loathe him: Sacha Baron Cohen isn’t going anywhere. His new film “The Brothers Grimsby,” which is set to open in the U.S. on March 11th, is not a scathing satirical mockumentary like “Borat” or “Bruno” —early reviews indicate that it is similar to 2012’s “The Dictator,” i.e. a broad, goofy farce possessing only faint flickers of socio-political commentary.
As silly as many of his characters are, Cohen puts a lot of work into their creation, and often puts himself in physical danger. That’s just one of the many fascinating points that the comic visionary discusses in a new talk with Marc Maron for his “WTF” Podcast. He talks about the many setbacks he endured while making “Borat” (“The FBI started following us. They got so many calls saying there was a terrorist… in an ice cream van”), how his Jewish identity shaped his comedy, his time studying "bouffon" clown theatre under the legendary Phillipe Gaulier and the time he interviewed Donald Trump while disguised as Ali G. (Cohen says that Trump's increasing chances at becoming POTUS “would be great for comedians and satirists, and terrible for humanity.”)
Cohen and Maron also get around to talking about “The Brothers Grimsby,” which the actor seems to have had a blast making and which Maron called “a love letter to the lower class.” But critics aren’t so keen on the movie, which currently holds a dismal-but-not-disastrous rating of 50% on Rotten Tomatoes. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian awarded the film a meager two stars, writing “Baron Cohen’s brilliance in character comedy has created some glorious movies, but the character route is now coming to an end. This unique talent needs to take another direction.” Guy Lodge of Variety didn’t much like the film either, calling it “a smutty but strained spy spoof in which most of the human-based comedy stays comparatively flaccid.”
“The Brothers Grimsby” opens on March 11th. Check out the Cohen talk below followed by some clips and more for his upcoming movie.