So I watched The Trip last night, and was working away on my review. I had hit around 550 words or so, and then someone else hit a pole outside my building. The power went out, with chainsaws buzzing around 3:00 am, and electricity finally restored around 5:30 am, I soon discovered that the “auto-backup-draft” feature here was not working. Trust me, what I had written last night was GOLD. We’re talking prize-winning stuff…sadly, I’ll never be able to recreate that magic, so here comes “take two”…
The Trip, features comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, who previously worked together in Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story, again with director Michael Winterbottom. This time out, they are playing fictionalized versions themselves, in an interesting cross between improve comedy and mock-umentary filmmaking. The Trip was originally filmed as a television series for the BBC, but was trimmed down from six half-hour episodes to one 107 minute feature.
Steve Coogan has been recruited by The Observer to review several restaurants in Northern England, over the span of a week long road trip. The plan was for Steve and his girlfriend to travel the English countryside, enjoy the sites, and enjoy the food. Unfortunately Steve and his girlfriend are on “hiatus”, so Steve calls Rob Brydon to accompany him on the trip. Why Rob? Well they worked together before, and everyone else he called was busy. Steve and Rob travel the countryside, showing us the sites, the food, bantering back and forth and serving up a deliciously witty bit of British humour for our enjoyment.
Each day was originally a separate episode, and featured a different restaurant, and the film basically separates them as well. Each day basically features some travel, some food/restaurant scenes and some English scenery. Occasionally, we are introduced to a day by one of Steve’s dreams, which really are funny, and show that the movie was somewhat plotted, even if it was not scripted. Drama is added to the film as we see Rob call home to talk to his wife, or Steve contact his US agent, his estranged girlfriend and even his son.
Both men are recognized comedians in their native land; though Coogan has received more North American exposure; and both excel at impressions. Throughout the film we are treated to their impressions of Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Christopher Lee, Richard Burton, Hugh Grant, Anthony Hopkins, Ian McKellen, Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, and even duelling Michael Caines. The restaurant scenes where they critique and compare impressions are hilarious.
While the dialogue throughout the film is sharp and witty, my favourite parts took place on the road. These parts showed how well these two friends played off each other, and showed realistic road trip dialogue. They sing along to songs, they make up their own, and have the kind of candid discussions and made up conversations and skits we all have as we take along trip with our friends.
The Trip was a highly enjoyable, and I would say definitely worth the watch. I had much more to say about it, but the hour is late, and we rise at 9:30….ish