The Trip to Spain

Studio: IFC Films
Directed by Michael Winterbottom

Aug 11, 2017 Web Exclusive
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British comedic vets Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon play fictionalized versions of themselves in this droll road movie.  One domesticated with a pair of adorable toddlers, and the other a lithe and limber divorcee thespian courting a woman half his age, this odd couple trace the coast of Spain in a Land Rover, constantly attempting to one up each other with clever banter and impressions of yesteryear’s stars. This isn’t their first such foray: a trip to northern England provided the fodder for the first installment in this series in 2010 (a viral video of rivaling their Michael Caine impressions ensued). It was followed The Trip to Italy in 2014, and now Coogan and Brydon are rounding the trilogy off with The Trip to Spain.

And, dear Lord, do these proceedings reveal Coogan to be a real arse. Just insufferable. And that, of course, is what makes him so hilarious, and what makes his old (relatively lower key) pal Rob Brydon such a perfect foil, in this third installment of their wonderfully funny trilogy. And while it doesn’t hold a candle to the original, first installment—thanks to an overwrought, dramatic ending, scenes and jokes that linger on for too long, and overall sense that we’ve pretty much seen this all before—The Trip to Spain still has plenty of charms that make it worth watching. An exchange about the Spanish inquisition, for instance, is perfectly timed and brimming with gut busting originality, that it’s worth the price of admission alone. There’s more than a dozen such moments in the film that will keep fans entertained throughout, despite plodding scenes that feel added for the sake of padding.

And yes, this is one for the fans—those who love dry, nuanced, witty banter that’s all the more impressive because it’s so spontaneous. Sure, these old blokes can be pompous gasbags, as they ceaselessly compete to make the best impression and the sharpest zinger. It’s also a foodie movie, with adoring shots of the high end dishes and restaurants that serve as stages for both stars to not only dine in, but also trade barbs. Same goes for the lush shots of the Spanish countryside they amble along through. Part travel porn, part whimsical comedy, The Trip to Spain will appeal to discerning viewers, though those with less subtle tastes will decide to live vicariously through other travelers. 

Author rating: 7/10

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