Film Review: The Trip (2011)

| 18 July , 2011 | Reply

Directed by: Michael Winterbottom
Starring: Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon

The Trip is a British comedy film that provides you with sweeping shots of lovely English countryside, close-ups of delectable food, and the company of two talented British actors, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, busily engaging in clever, improvisational repartee that is deliciously funny.

When I told a British friend that I was going to watch this film, she immediately started putting on a strange voice. She later rather huffily admitted that these were her poor impressions of Alan Partridge, Steve Coogan\’s famous radio character. This friend would also fill me in on Rob Brydon, of Gavin and Stacey (a BBC sitcom) fame, who also is, apparently, with Mr. Coogan, A RATHER BIG DEAL in England.

For those unfamiliar with their work, Coogan and Brydon are comedic actors and voice talents who are well known figures in the U.K. for their work on radio, TV and film, as well as their turns on the standup comedy circuit.

The Trip is a somewhat unusual, but enjoyable film, framed almost like a mockumentary. The film depicts a loosely fictionalized reality, where Steve Coogan plays himself, a British actor going on into middle age, who has experienced some significant success in the local arena, but who hasn\’t managed to break successfully into the big international Hollywood market.

Instead, he is clearly grappling with his flaws and failures of his career and his relationships, his personal and his public life, which have been gleefully seized upon by the British newspapers as fodder for their celebrity pages.

Brydon, on the other hand, largely comes across as a man generally content with his lot in life, and the successes he has achieved, unburdened by the ache of ambitions and desire for broader success held by Coogan.

The Trip is built upon the wonderful comic relationship and balance between these two, and the setup is quite straightforward. Steve has been commissioned by the food supplement of a Sunday newspaper to review half a dozen restaurants, a sojourn he had originally planned to take with his American girlfriend. However, she has left him, and returned to the States. As a last resort, Steve reluctantly asks his old friend Rob to accompany him, as he doesn\’t want to go by himself.

Together, they set off. And The Trip shows off improvised and very funny recurring voice impressions of a number of famous actors, witty jousts as conversations, laugh out soliloquys and comedic monologues, as well as genuinely moving moments that address real issues about life, meaning, friendship, and relationships.

While perhaps The Trip perhaps doesn\’t have the best fit, in terms of its frame of reference, for an Australian audience, the film provides good solid entertainment for fans of smartly delivered, intelligently structured comedy.

The Trip is now screening in selected cinemas across Australia.

 Keeva

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