The Trip to Spain – movie reviewby James Robins
Trippers Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan take their jovial repartee to Spain.
For the uninitiated, the set-up is simple: two chaps journey to a place where the eating is good and the scenery is picturesque on the pretext of writing a piece for the Observer. Each Trip began life as a six-part BBC television series, with the highlights edited into a feature film for the rest of the world.
In their debut, the pair did northern England while quoting Coleridge. Take two saw them in Italy citing Byron. Now, they’re in Spain parroting Monty Python’s The Spanish Inquisition sketches (naturally) and delivering their own skit in tribute, with Coogan the torturer and Brydon on the rack.
Otherwise, this film, like its predecessors, meanders by design, lolling along on the ebb and flow of conversation over the dining table. Most of it – sometimes to a fault – revolves around Brydon and Coogan’s talent for impersonations, and once again, we get versions of Mick Jagger, Christopher Lee, Michael Caine, Robert de Niro, Marlon Brando and Woody Allen.
However, the most curious aspect of the Trip films is not the clever riffing between the pair but their air of melancholy and bitterness. Coogan’s character, forever falling in and out of affairs, covers up a piercing jealousy of Brydon’s contented family life by jabbing at his opposite’s parochial fame, while constantly reminding him of those Oscar nominations (for Philomena) of his. Brydon’s character, in turn, sent the story to dark places by having a fling with a tour guide in Italy.
These twists of tone may jar somewhat, but they give the movies some much-needed depth and emotional variation. They are, at the core, a document of two midlife crises unfolding in languid, jovial slow-motion.
IN CINEMAS NOW
This article was first published in the August 26, 2017 issue of the New Zealand Listener.
A website that creates “backyard missions” for Kiwi kids is dragging digital natives back outdoors.Read more
Hospitality pros Shannon Vandy and Fraser McCarthy offer a new fine-dining eatery with a no-waste approachRead more
Thousands of school leavers will make big decisions this month, but a pressure brewing for years has skewed the decision-making process for some.Read more
Meth is no longer a big city problem. Otago's sleepy Clutha District is awash with the drug - but there aren't enough addiction services to help.Read more
The second season of Wanted comes to NZ as the creators find out whether the show has won the International Emmy Award for best drama series.Read more