The Trip Directed by: Michael Winterbottom Cast: Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon, Claire Keelan, Margo Stilley Running Time: 1 hr 47 mins Rating: R Release Date: June 17, 2011 (Portland)
PLOT: The Observer asks Steve Coogan to tour England's finest restaurants. When his girlfriend can't make it, Rob Brydon, his friend and annoyance, joins him.
WHO'S IT FOR? If you are a fans of Coogan, Brydon or comedians in general this little film will be a nice fit.
Rob says, "It's 2010, everything's been done before." Well, this hasn't.
Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon play versions of themselves. They travel. They eat. Most importantly, they chat.
This is a film that attempts to feel like a documentary. While Rob looks familiar, I never watched the TV show "Little Britain" and I still haven't seen the film Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story . I knew Steve as the director whose head gets blown up in Tropic Thunder, the teacher from Hamlet 2, and Tony Wilson from 24 Hour Party People. Steve's successful, but he also experiences the high and lows of fame, and with that comes stress. Rob is less famous and more even keeled. He's got a wife and kid at home.
There is nothing ground breaking about this idea, after all "everything's been done before." For example, the first bed & breakfast only has one room, with one bed (classic comedy). What makes this so enjoyable is the bickering, the camaraderie, the competition and the friendship between Steve and Rob.
The competition comes out most with impressions, let me finish. The two do, let me finish. Both do a, let me finish. Sorry, I apologize. I was tapping into my favorite moment of the film. Both men do a Michael Caine impression. Both men try to out do each others Caine. It's the mind of a comic that is truly on display. Just like the real documentary, Conan O'Brien Can't Stop, this film shows the constant struggle to find the funny. And with Steve, it takes it one step further. He wants to find the funny and then be known internationally as more than just a comedian.
You're not always rooting for these two. Both have their flaws. Rob is constantly working on his impressions of Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins, Ian McKellan and more. Plus, Rob remains fairly simple. For a second it looks like he'll have a real moment when flirting with someone over dinner, but it doesn't go anywhere. Steve on the other hand, "loves" his girlfriend and wants to be with her, while sleeping around every chance he gets. Ah, the price of fame. Plus, Steve hates the idea of admitting Rob is a friend.
It feels like this could have been a series, and wouldn't you know it ... it was. The Trip is an edited version of the six-episode TV show "The Trip." It would be great if this continued. You know what would make it even better? Different talent. That's not to say Coogan and Brydon didn't do a good job. I just think the format is great. I'd love to see others explore their neuroses and make us laugh along the way. After all, it's exactly what a trip should be.
Also, make sure to eat beforehand. The food looks great.
FINAL SCORE: 7/10