Reaction videos are bizarrely entertaining, but who knew they could be used to market a movie?
That was the case last night when Sacha Baron Cohen visited Jimmy Kimmel to promote his upcoming movie, "The Brothers Grimsby." The action comedy stars Mark Strong as a highly skilled MI6 operative whose mission to save the world is somewhat complicated by the sudden appearance of his estranged brother, a buffoonish soccer hooligan named Nobby (Cohen).
Cohen had plans to publicize the movie, which opens in March, on Kimmel's show, but there was one problem: The clip was too graphic for broadcast television. No matter, Kimmel hatched a plan. He would show the clip to the studio audience, and the viewers at home could watch them watch it.
That sounds like a stupid idea, right? Cohen seemed to think so.
"So wait a minute, you're saying I've come on this show for the first time in 12 years, and you're going to show the audience watching my clip, but the people at home will not be able to watch the clip?"
"Exactly," Kimmel said. "Is that okay?"
"It's not okay but it feels like I have no other option," Cohen responded, laughing.
Then Kimmel warned those in the studio that they were about to watch some very graphic, potentially offensive material, and were free to leave at any time. And… roll the tape!
Oddly enough, it was a brilliant marketing scheme. Viewers at home got a few seconds of footage with Strong and Cohen running away from bad guys before the camera panned to the audience members who almost immediately began covering their mouths, gasping, cringing and groaning. But pretty soon everyone was shrieking and laughing (except for one woman who just mouthed the words, "oh my god"). Even the studio band, the camera operator and Kimmel himself were crying laughing.
What happens in the scene? Hard to say, but it may be even more shocking than Cohen's naked wrestling in "Borat." The only indication of what's going on is an occasional elephant noise. Let your imaginations run wild.
Meanwhile, here's a safe for work trailer.