Published on July 30th, 2017 | by Curtis Mayfield
The Trip to Spain – Film Review
Reviewed by Curtis Mayfield M-H on the 13th of July 2017
Madman Entertainment presents a film by Michael Winterbottom
Written by Michael Winterbottom
Produced by Josh Hyams, Stefano Negri & Melissa Parmenter
Starring: Rob Brydon, Steve Coogan, Marta Barrio & Claire Keelan
Cinematography: James Clarke
Edited by Mags Arnold, Paul Monaghan & Marc Richardson
Running Time: 115 minutes
Release Date: the 3rd of August 2017
For too long comedy fans have been fed an awful diet of fatty, indigestible saucy comedies that rely too heavily on either sex jokes or unfunny A-list casts to earn a laugh. Thank god for Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon coming together every few years to make easily one of the funniest movie series that showcases improvised dialogue and stripped back storytelling at its best. The Trip to Spain marks the third installment of the series with frenemies Coogan and Brydon once again playing onscreen versions of themselves as they travel around the stunning countryside to review different fancy restaurants, all the while trying to outdo each other to get the literal last laugh.
Even though this is the third (and hopefully not final) edition to The Trip series you don’t need to see the first two to follow what’s happening; although it does help to get into the rhythm of these two great improvisers. This movie is basically like a semi-scripted European version of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee with a generous helping of beautiful Spanish landscapes and a side serving of jokes on ancient history.
For those who are familiar with the previous movies The Trip to Spain plays all the greatest hits. There’s the competition to see who does the best Michael Caine impression and ‘the small man trapped in a box’ voice. Though this movie does provide plenty of new hilarious standards, such as attempts at Mick Jagger impersonations as well as abstract jokes that fuse Picasso and Anthony Hopkins into one ridiculous imitation.
Possibly the greatest aspect of this movie and the reason why it achieves everything it sets out to do is the flawless chemistry between Coogan and Brydon; the director Michael Winterbottom seems to let the two comedic legends fall in and out of the script all for the sake of comedy. It’s this free-flow of off the cuff lines that make this movie carefree but far from clumsy. There’s method to the madness when the two leads are allowed the time and space to push out an idea and let it grow all while we’re watching. It’s hard to imagine that impressions of Mick Jagger transforming into a skit about a camp Nazi would happen in any scripted movie.
But it’s not all just funny dinner conversation as we see Coogan’s character grow (just a little) since the last time he was touring about in 2014’s The Trip to Italy as he’s attempting to settle down (albeit with a married 19-year-old model) and seems to be less of a womaniser. But don’t worry, he still hasn’t lost his ability to constantly drop humble brags about his two Oscar nominations. “He’ll be somewhere talking to a nun asking her if she’s heard of Judi Dench,” says Rob when Steve can’t be reached by phone. Sorry to say to all the foodies out there that there is less of an emphasis on the food-porn aspect this go around but don’t fret because you’ll still get to witness some shots of amazing dishes being used as ammunition for the next joke being loaded up.
As for Rob Brydon’s character, well he stays close to being the straight-guy in this comedy duo but he definitely doesn’t shy away from being the clown from time to time. Look out for Brydon disrupting an adult conversation about the Moors by doing a spot on and relentless impression of Roger Moore even when everybody at the table has decided to try to ignore him. This of course adds fuel to the fire and we’re given a four-minute scene of Brydon doing his best Bond take. The movie does what the last two did as far as character development goes by highlighting the differences in lifestyles between Brydon and Coogan.
Much like the previous movies there’s a B-story happening outside of the road trip for each of the leads. Steve is facing a change in his acting and writing career with his agent fleeing, leaving him stuck with a very young agent that looks like he’d be better at winning a Justin Bieber look-a-like competition than managing talent. While Rob is simply enjoying not having to face parental and domestic obligations just for a little while. This movie is so well put together that it will either inspire you to book a holiday to Spain and/or encourage you to sign up to be in a multi-talented British comedy duo because at this point the movie makes both options look pretty delicious.
Summary: This movie is so well put together that it will either inspire you to book a holiday to Spain and/or encourage you to sign up to be in a multi-talented British comedy duo because at this point the movie makes both options look pretty delicious.