Quick Hit: Delicious and fun, but overstays its welcome slightly.
Full disclosure here – I’ve not seen the miniseries the original The Trip was based on, nor have I seen The Trip to Italy. I am, however, a large fan of Steve Coogan – particularly in the little seen, less understood Hamlet 2. I also thought the Rob Brydon was one of the few good parts in The Huntsman. So what were my thoughts about seeing the film? Fans of the series (such that I’ve heard of it) will be welcomed with more of the same.
The Trip series is a series that essentially follows Coogan and Brydon as they play fictionalized versions of themselves around an area of a country as they eat delicious local delicacies and do impressions. There may be some surrounding plot development, but the movies are (at least from my interpretation of this one) more about the interaction and competitiveness between two men who live in a similar vein of British comics that are struggling to break into the world of American film.
The film has several clever winks to the recent success Coogan has had with his writing career – however, like most of the film, the repeated jokes about Philomena, which was nominated for four Academy Awards, start to turn slightly. In fact, even the impressions, which the different men sometimes perform perfectly, start to begin to be repeated by the mid-point of the movie. It’s a fun thing for a man that loves impressions and the wonder flexibility of the human voice, but even I started to wonder how many times I would hear Roger Moore.
The one thing I will state is that the movie seems to realize that it is weary on the same jokes, and frequently offers sanctum in two things. The first could just be my interpretation, and is simply that the film repeats its jokes in a way that makes you feel like the stars knew that we would be bored with the same impressions, just as they are. One scene in particular leads to Brydon incessantly refusing to communicate in a voice that is not Roger Moore, with increasing frustration by Coogan. It seems almost to be purposely allowing Coogan to be an audience stand-in here, and so that makes for a brave bit of writing to poke fun at your own schtick.
The movie is gorgeous to look at. There are frequently large sweeping vistas around Spain, and it immediately makes the movie seem more real and more full despite its small lack of plot movement. There is also an consistent feeling of time passing, not due to the timecards that allow us to see which day it is, but with the men’s weariness and the constant travel. When coupled with the frequent phone call interactions home (which further illustrate the competiveness between the two men), the week trip seems much longer, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Overall, foodies and travel junkies will probably enjoy this one. Along with that, fans of these particular British comics will enjoy pieces as well. While not for everyone, and not a masterpiece, The Trip to Spain convinced me to check out the first two movies in the trilogy, and so I’m giving it a “B-“.
For more on this movie check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"