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When Steve Coogan is asked by The Observer to tour the country's finest restaurants, he envisions it as the perfect getaway with his beautiful girlfriend. But, when she backs out on him, he has no one to accompany him but his best friend and source of eternal aggravation, Rob Brydon.Written by
If you have 2 minutes to waste reading this review, I suggest instead you go to Youtube, search "the trip michael caine" and watch it. If it makes you laugh, expect more of the same in this movie. If it doesn't do anything for you, then don't bother watching the film. Although I can't imagine any human with a pulse not being tickled by that great scene.
"The Trip" has no real story. As explained in the first 10 seconds of the film, it's simply about Steve Coogan (played by Steve Coogan) who reluctantly invites his quasi-friend Rob Brydon (played by Rob Brydon) in on an assignment reviewing restaurants in northern UK.
What follows is 172 minutes of bizarre, awkward and painful humour which, like in the "Michael Caine" clip, centers around the 2 quirky characters and their polite antagonism of each other. If you haven't already seen the Coogan-Brydon schtick (as in "Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story") I can only describe it as classic. It's almost a throwback to Laurel & Hardy or Abbot & Costello but with intelligence rather than slapstick. Coogan plays the somewhat superior egotist while Brydon plays the clown (who always gets the better of his counterpart).
"The Trip" was originally a 6-part series that aired on BBC in 2010, strung into a feature film released in 2011. The whole show was largely improvised, and in the excellent bonus features on the film DVD we can see the evolution of their routines as well as some other gags that didn't make it to the final version (such as the hilariously surreal "C-NT SONG" and accompanying dance choreography).
The pacing of the film is somewhat slow, but that works to its advantage. It makes the whole experience flow realistically, not contrived. The gags are like islands of hilarity in a sea of Coogan's otherwise dreary life. Also note, even though I said there's no story, there actually is if you read between the lines. Ironically, it's a rather heavy story touching on the themes of loneliness, dissatisfaction and Shakespearean "sound and fury signifying nothing". I was extremely impressed that director Michael Winterbottom could make such a funny film within such a bleak premise.
Watch it closely and you'll be both entertained and affected. Films I'd compare this to are "Tristram Shandy" (another excellent Coogan-Brydon-Winterbottom collaboration), "Coffee and Cigarettes" (also featuring Coogan in a stylish, artistic comedy by Jim Jarmusch) and some of the Christopher Guest films, such as "A Mighty Wind" and "Best in Show".
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