When Steve is commissioned by The Observer to review half a dozen restaurants, he decides to plan a trip around the North of England with his food-loving American girlfriend. But when she decides to leave him and return to the US, Steve is faced with a week of meals for one. Reluctantly, he calls Rob, the only person left he can think of who will be available on short notice. Rob, never one to turn down a free meal, agrees, and together they set off for a culinary adventure.
Back in 2005, Michael Winterbottom directed Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon in the film Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story. The film broke the fourth wall in it’s construct having Coogan address the camera at certain times and created an on screen persona, although different from his self, that portrayed him as an arrogant, petty man with delusions of granduer.
Carrying through this version of himself, he establishes his often repulsive persona very quickly in the film when he invites Rob Brydon on a week long trip to review food after having called almost everyone else before getting to Brydon. Michael Winterbottom directs again and this time the fourth wall is intact, but the film centers on the fictionalised versions of Coogan and Rob Brydon.
They are tasked with reviewing a number of resturaunts/bed and breakfasts in the North of England. During the movie we see them annoying each other with their perculiarities and being the “star” of the film, Coogan plays up his philandering ways (although in reality he is a happily married father). Borrowing from much of the same material in Tristram Shandy, the two men have a Laurel and Hardy relationship that works best when they are trying to out do each other either in knowledge or impressions of their favourite stars.
The film looks wonderful, really showing off the beautiful countryside of England and you’ll come out of the film wanting to get a bite to eat.
Coogan and Brydon are great friends in real life and it is a laugh riot seeing them sending each other up. A lot of the film is improvised and Winterbottom let’s them play and you’ll be glad he did. You’ll never hear a better impersonation of Michael Caine than in this film.
It is a very funny film that really shows off the two leads comedy timing and their ability to make it look like they are about to snap at each other at any moment.
The Trip opens in limited release on 30th June.
I give it 3/5.