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The Trip

The Trip: Delectably Funny Faux-Documentary

  • Margo StilleyRob Brydon...
  • Comedy
  • Out now
  • Michael Winterbottom
reviewed by
Yasmin Shehab
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The Trip: Delectably Funny Faux-Documentary

The Trip essentially stars
Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as themselves. The film has main characters loosely
based on the people acting them, and you will keep losing track of whether
you’re watching a film or a documentary. Is this real or isn’t it?

Coogan is an actor who aspires to appear in mainstream Hollywood films.
He’s carved a successful career for himself in British TV and art films, yet US
fame eludes him. His old friend Brydon is a Welsh comedian and mimic who is
also moderately successful in the UK, but unlike Coogan, he is content with his
lot in life. Coogan has been commissioned to review a bunch of fancy
restaurants scattered around Northern England, and he takes Brydon along for the
week-long trip after his on-off girlfriend Mischa (Stilley) bails.

On paper, it sounds rather sparse and empty, and in a way it is; yet it’s
still really funny. This is a no-frills production and there’s absolutely
nothing fancy about the whole film; except for the food, which consists of
fancy multi-course meals made by top European chefs. If you’re a fellow cooking
show devotee, watching snippets of the food being prepared is just as
entertaining as the comedy.

Shot mostly in the countryside, the film’s breathtaking scenery provides
gorgeous views despite the dreary English skies. Also, while there is nothing
out of the ordinary about the camera work and the editing; it works perfectly
to keep the focus on the two leads. Pretty much everything in the film takes a
backseat; allowing both Coogan and Brydon to shine.

Regardless of whether these two are old friends in real life or not,
they definitely convey it convincingly. And while Coogan is rather blasé about
their friendship and frequently gives the impression that he finds Brydon
rather irritating, it’s also obvious that Coogan is getting more out of the
friendship and depends on it more than Brydon does. Brydon has his wife to fall
back on, whereas Coogan has an ex-wife who isn’t exactly his biggest fan and
his relationship with his girlfriend is rather rocky. Brydon’s goofy, down-to-earth
persona is the perfect foil to Coogan’s prima donna, and they play off of each
other perfectly.

Their banter carries the whole thing. They bicker, squabble, have ABBA
sing-alongs in the car and impersonate famous people. This reviewer’s personal
favourite was Brydon’s Woody Allen impression with his hilariously accurate Al
Pacino and De Niro impersonations coming in close seconds. Celeb impressions
notwithstanding, the funniest parts were probably Coogan’s two dream sequences,
one of which stars Ben Stiller as himself.

The Trip is for fans of
straight-up comedy with dark undertones, for people who don’t need a lot
happening on screen to hold their attention. Yes, you will be basically
watching two (very funny) blokes argue for the better part of two hours; but
it’s so worth it.

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360 Tip

This film was originally aired as a television mini-series in the UK. It was then edited into a film for American audiences.

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