Originally conceived as a TV show, the Trip movies have been popular. An edited version of the third series, The Trip to Spain utilises the talents of comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. Portraying fictionalised versions of themselves, they travel the best restaurants in Spain in the guise of doing culinary reviews for the Observer newspaper. Their third co-conspirator is director Michael Winterbottom who uses skills for documentary-style filmmaking to good effect.
The Trip to Spain is almost like the premise for Seinfeld. Whilst the latter was a ‘show about nothing’, the former is basically a loose collage of amusing incidents full of ab-libbed lunacy. Their style of humour may be an acquired taste as the movie rests firmly on their shoulders. The comedy doesn’t always hit the mark but there are more hits than misses. Coogan as the arrogant lonely egotist and Brydon as the easy-going family man are a strange but amusing combination. They work well together as often hilarious sparring partners.
Fans of previous entries will appreciate how far both men have come. As the series ages, so do they with their experiences defining how they look at themselves and life in general. This has an impact on their latest journey as they reflect on where they’ve been and where they want to go. Whilst it’s clear they are playing heightened renderings of their personas, the quieter moments have as much impact as the comedy. Family and career issues weigh heavily on both men with these uniting them.
The work is enlivened by the locations and Winterbottom’s smooth direction. He wrings much from gorgeous locales with the cinematography wonderfully showing off Spain’s beauty. Coogan and Brydon clearly have a great time walking amongst the locales and dining on mouth-watering food. Foodies of all ages will enjoy the treats on display making it advisable not to see this movie on an empty stomach.
The quirky directorial flourishes and consistently amusing humour make this a trip worth taking. There’s no need to have seen the other instalments although fans of the series should enjoy this just as much. Another trip with this duo wouldn’t be unwelcome with the culinary comedians affable companions most would enjoy as travel-mates.
Rating out of 10: 7
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