Sacha Baron Cohen has pissed off people in the English town of Grimsby -- who say his new film depicts them as hooligans and low-lifes -- but town leaders tell TMZ ... angry residents need to chill.
Some Grimbarians are threatening to boycott the release of the flick, if Cohen doesn't re-edit the movie to fairly portray the townspeople. They believe Cohen's movie makes them look like the "Borat" portrayal of Kazakhstan.
But City Council members tell TMZ ... protesters should relax ... the film is a comedy -- not a realistic depiction of Grimsby. They say Cohen isn't even shooting in Grimsby.
The flick -- "Grimsby" -- features an English football hooligan (Cohen) who goes on a mission with his brother ... a British spy. Pics from the set show a trash-littered neighborhood populated with drunks and degenerates.
BTW ... to help understand why people who live in Grimsby are so sensitive ... the town was a thriving fishing port until the '80s ... when the biggest company left town and unemployment skyrocketed. The town never really recovered.