The things you learn at the pictures. Had I not seen Sacha Baron Cohen's new film, I might have gone through life sublimely unaware of the word "bukkake", let alone the concept. That may have been no bad thing, of course. Pause before googling it, and don't say you weren't warned.
The name at the top of the bill is about all the warning you should need, though. The creator of that unholy trinity of apparently ingenuous oafs Ali G, Borat and Bruno, long ago showed that he was oblivious to the concept of taboo. To him, the words "Don't go there" are code for "Let's go!". Grimsby, much more wittily titled The Brothers Grimsby in its US release, is clear evidence that nothing has changed.
Despite their short running times, the feature outings of the three established characters were short-form, small-screen ideas that sagged after being overstretched. But this film, which introduces a whole new persona, hits the speed limit from a standing start and never slows down.
That persona is Norman "Nobby" Butcher, a football-mad lager lout from the title's Humberside fishing town, where he shares a happy life of benefit fraud with his 11 kids and his sumptuously upholstered, sex-crazed girlfriend Dawn. The only fly in his pint-foam is that he hasn't seen his young brother Sebastian since they were separated as kids.
The script, which Baron Cohen wrote with his Borat and Bruno collaborator Peter Baynham, is a little vague about how Sebastian (Strong) reappears in his life, though when he does, he's a black-ops MI6 agent trying to save the world from ...
Well, it would be a shame to spoil that bit, though it gives nothing away to say that Nobby's decides to make the mission a joint operation.
A clever marketing ploy has kept the detail of the film's most outrageously gross scene under wraps (a video of an American talk show studio audience watching it was the closest we got), and it has to be said that it takes a strong stomach to watch it.
But it's less remarkable for its content than for its damn-the-torpedoes bravado. On paper, it shouldn't work at all but it does because we've been softened up by Baron Cohen's unique ability to make us like, even love, a complete nong.
Grimsby's comic bandwidth makes it hard to draw breath sometimes and it can disguise how deft and clever a comedian Baron Cohen is. Inspired ideas (he has a vertical-spit kebab grill in his kitchen) are glimpsed in the edge of the frame and dispensed with; each disgusting trope is matched by a dozen flashes of verbal or visual wit.
It's a film in which nothing is sacred; no orifice goes unfilled or unemptied. But anyone who can dream up the same fate for Harry Potter and Donald Trump gets my vote. A day later, I was still chuckling.
Movie: The Brothers Grimsby
Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Strong, Rebel Wilson, Penelope Cruz, Isla Fisher, Gabourey Sidibe
Director: Louis Leterrier
Running time: 83 mins
Rating: R16 (violence, offensive language, drug use, sexual material, content that may offend)
Verdict: Inspired grossness