The Trip

The Trip


Reviewed by: Anne-Katrin Titze

Michael Winterbottom's laugh out loud comedy The Trip feels more like a heavyweight prizefight between Michael Caine than a Hope/Crosby road to anywhere movie. We are treated to the lovely and breathtaking English Lake District, while Joy Division's Atmosphere is heard and discussed as the perfect contrast to the villages of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple. The verbal punches in this battle of impersonations are thrown by Steve Coogan playing a character named Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon playing a character named Rob Brydon.

The Trip was originally made as a 6-part TV series for BBC 2. Winterbottom shares with us his version of a rollicking celebrity reality show with a farcical twist. Wordsworth's and Coleridge's poems become caricatured as they are discussed by Coogan and Brydon over rabbit following lamb. This is not one meal in one nouvelle cuisine restaurant, it is a five day guest food critic assignment to the north of England for the newspaper The Observer that they are on.

The boys, because you can't really call them men, behave like they are trading playground retorts in a sandbox filled with scallops and dead poets. Try as they may, they can't escape their illusions, worn like a mask of self-hate. We see them taking a tour of Coleridge's house and Wordsworth's cottage only able to relate to the drug use and themselves. They try to co-opt the Romantic poets to avoid their own existence by destroying the lines with a clownish delivery.

Gentlemen, to bed. What time is the battle? Women are little more than props, even if that prop is a windmill. The boys compete on many levels without ever being in the same competition. Coogan is the wanna-be jet-setting Don Juan, ending up as Don Quixote. As "Don" Coogan says: "Women are my windmills." We also have dueling James Bond impersonations mixed with culinary inquiries like "Was there a lot of alcohol in the garden of your childhood?"

Rob Brydon, a small man in a box, has a new baby and a suburban wife he misses very much. Still, he chooses to stay away from his happy life to re-enter into this 11 year relationship based on "I'd rather be me than you." The bond for them is escapism through the voices of others and lines. The Trip is a big costume drama without the costumes. Winterbottom's P.S. to his own hilarious Tristram Shandy: A Cock And Bull Story (2006).

Endless talking, life rebuilding. Don't walk away.

Night falls over London, the scallops are resting.

Reviewed on: 02 Dec 2012
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A comic road trip through the north of England.
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Director: Michael Winterbottom

Starring: Rob Brydon, Steve Coogan, Claire Keelan, Margo Stilley, Dolya Gavanski, Paul Popplewell

Year: 2010

Runtime: 109 minutes

Country: UK

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