Review: The Trip to Spain

The Trip to Spain
7 10

PLOT: Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, once again set off on a culinary adventure, with their travels, this time, taking them to Spain. There, they take in the sights, sample local cuisine, and debate important subjects, such as who does a better Mick Jagger impression.

REVIEW: THE TRIP TO SPAIN is director Michael WInterbottom’s third go-round in this series, which airs on BBC in the UK but gets cut-down to a feature in North America. For those uninitiated, in it, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon mock their own personas, playing somewhat fictionalized versions of themselves. Overall, the series has had something of an arc, with the two, who start as rivals (the series itself is a sequel to their film TRISTRAM SHANDY: A COCK & BULL STORY), slowly becoming friends as the three films go on.

Nods to their own, real-life, careers are sprinkled in, with Coogan starting the series as a bad-boy who’s fallen off-the-wagon, while Brydon is a loveable family man. In the first sequel, THE TRIP TO ITALY, Coogan is newly sober, while Brydon gets a little carried-away in his travels and has a minor mid-life crisis. This one, THE TRIP TO SPAIN, trades on the fact that both are a lot more famous internationally then they were before, with Coogan now an Oscar nominee for PHILOMENA (which he can’t stop bragging about), while Brydon also has heat following a well-received turn in THE HUNTSMAN.

Like the others, THE TRIP TO SPAIN is basically a loose collection of conversations where the two riff on everything from aging, to their families, careers and frustrations. Most famously, they also constantly break into lengthy impressions, with both trying to one-up each other. Coogan has almost completely surrendered the crown for Michael Caine to Brydon, with both doing an encore. The new argument is over who does a better Mick Jagger, with both having had run-ins with him between the films. They also get into an extended riff on Roger Moore (this was filmed before he died), and talk about the late David Bowie, who Coogan is jealous to learn actually followed Brydon on Twitter.

THE TRIP TO SPAIN is as visually sumptuous as the last one (the first, likely produced on a lower budget, was comparatively bland looking), with them taking advantage of the beautiful Spanish locations. The cuisine looks delectable, as do the wines. Despite its improvisational feel, the modest arc is continued, with Coogan struggling to stay sober, even though Brydon observes him at a bar trying to impress the locals with PHILOMENA trivia, and his on-going family-relationship drama. Mostly, it’s just a good excuse to see two geniuses of comedy go head-to-head, although a twist ending feels a bit extreme and like something of a misstep that ends the film on a sour note. Another series (which maybe takes them to America) should regain the audience’s goodwill. If you like these guys, and most do, check it out.

Source: JoBlo.com



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