In the words of Rob Brydon, “It’s 2010, everything’s been done before. All you can do is something that someone’s done before but do it better or different.” Road trip movies are well established as a genre, but Coogan and Brydon in The Trip do it better than anyone since Thelma & Louise. It’s bromance at its finest, mixed up with some true pathos regarding aging, family and love.
Well played, sirs.
The Trip showcases the outstanding talents of comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as they venture into the English countryside to sample some of the finest restaurants the country has to offer as per Coogan’s assignment from The Observer magazine. Originally having planned on making the trip with his now stateside girlfriend, Coogan calls upon Brydon to make the trip with him.
Armed with a map (Coogan doesn’t like using GPS) and an impressive repertoire of Michael Caine impressions, the two set off on a week-long bonding experience filled with high-end meals, much bantering and bickering, and some truly touching moments. One of the film’s more sobering points highlights the differences in the personal lives of these two funny front men.
Everything from heartbreakingly sweet “Welcome Home” hugs to good-hearted attempts at phone sex bring Brydon’s fulfilling family life to the screen. Coogan, on the other hand, suffers from nightmares when he isn’t bedding hotel hostesses and magazine photographers or tromping through fields to find cell reception. The voice-over phone calls, in addition to Coogan’s both silly yet revealing nightmares, provide the real emotional depth to the story, underlining fears of failure and insignificance.
Though there is always the possibility of boredom on the road, Mr. Coogan and Mr. Brydon are more than capable of entertaining both the audience and themselves. It also helps that Mr. Winterbottom effectively shuttles between mealtimes and views of windy country roads in a manner that keeps the story going at a good pace. However anxious you may be about the premise of the film, there are moments of pure gold in this ode to adventures on the road, coming-of-middle-age emotional truths and spontaneous duets that will make it well worth your while.
Ultimately entertaining and somewhat enlightening, The Trip will lend you some fond memories, might inspire some soul searching of your own and will most likely make you crave some Michael Caine movies.