Trip, The: Winterbottom’s Comedy, Starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon

Reprising their fictionalized roles from “Tristam Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story,” comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon reunite with the versatile British director Michael Winterbottom for an acerbically witty, largely improvised mockumentary, simply titled The Trip.  It’s a brief and accurate title, depicting the duo’s ride through the English countryside.

Hired by “The Observer” to review and rank the restaurants throughout the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales, Steve Coogan finds himself without a traveling companion after his girlfriend decides not to go at the last minute. After being turned down by everyone else he knows, Steve extends an invitation to Rob Brydon.

 

Jointly, the pair navigates the winding back roads of rural England, impersonating popular celebrities such as Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Woody Allen and Liam Neeson, Hugh Grant (among many others) and bickering along the way.

 

The narrative, which exploits the familiar concept f the Odd Couple, is divided into six different meals at six different restaurants.  Playing loose versions of themselves, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are funny and work well together.

 

During the trip, they bicker, reconcile, raise serious (and not so serious) questions about their lives, questioning in the process what is most important to them and even discover the limits of what they are willing and are not willing to do for fame.

 

The material is episodic and uneven, and at a running time of 112 minutes, the picture overstays its welcome by at least 20-25 minutes.   It’s the kind of movie that I would have preferred to see at a night club with a drink, or on TV in shorter segments, rather than as one long and continuous experience.

 

Even so, you would have some belly laughs, and at the end, you would try to remember some witty one-liners, which are interspersed throughout the improvised text.

End Note

For those interested, these are the restaurants that feature in the film.

The Inn at Whitewell

Near Clitheroe, Lancashire.

www.theinnatwhitewell.com

L’Enclume

Cartmel, Nr Grange over Sands, Cumbria

www.lenclume.co.uk

Holbeck Ghyll

Windermere , Cumbria
www.holbeckghyll.com

Hipping Hall

Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria

www.hippinghall.com

The Yorke Arms

Near Harrogate, North Yorkshire

www.yorke-arms.co.uk

The Angel at Hetton

Hetton, Near Skipton, North Yorkshire

www.angelhetton.co.uk

 

Credits

Running Time: 112 Min.

 

Directed by: Michael Winterbottom

 

Cast: Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon