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“The Trip” – Review (POSITIVE)

July 31, 2011

There are some comedies out there that I really have an interest in seeing the most, because they’re different than most others, the ones where actors play themselves or alternate versions of themselves, like “Being John Malkovich” for instance.

In Michael Winterbottom’s (“24 Hour Party People”) dark dramedy, “The Trip” stars British comics Steve Coogan (“Tropic Thunder”) as Steve Coogan & Rob Brydon (“Lock, Stock, & Two Smoking Barrels”) as Rob Brydon who go on a road trip to the northern regions of England to visit 10 different restaurants and review them for The Observer. The combination of the real life familiarity you have of these 2 guys, and the fictional lives they lead plays somewhat well, the film has it’s wittiness, but maintains the familiar dramatic themes about getting older and about ones mortality.

Steve (Coogan) has been hired by London’s The Observer to travel to Northern England and review 10 different restaurants in one weeks time. He was planning on taking his American girlfriend Mischa (Margo Stilley), but she’s taken a leave of absents to return to the U.S., so as a last minute resort, Steve askes his close friend Rob (Brydon) to tag along. Once Rob enters the car, the hilarity begins. With constant bickering on who can do the better Michael Caine impression, the guys get on each others nerves about life, jokes, impressions, food, wine, women, and jobs from there past.

Steve plays himself as a depressed indvidual who wants to be taken seriously as an actor and not as a comic. He’s suddenly given the opportunity to star in a crime drama for HBO, the only issue is, he would have to live in America for 7 or so years, does he really want to leave his children behind for career? It’s one of the many conflicts Steve faces while on this excentric trip with crazy old Rob.

The movie itself is quite an amusing one, though it tends to slow down here and there, the best parts of the movie are when Steve & Rob are eating their meals and having these hilarious banters. The scene that will stick out the most is the 5 minute bit between the two on who can do the better Michael Caine impression. Rob, who’s an stand-up impressionist, has loads of characters in that screwy little mind and seeing them all come out is just a riot. Everytime Rob & Steve go at it with their impressions dual, I start to bust a gut, it’s that funny.

The food in the film, WOW, it will make you severely hungry. The movie is shot in a sort of quasi-documentary style, while maintaining the usual narrative structure, we bounce back and forth between the dining rooms & kitchens, getting an up close look of how the meals are prepared. Believe me, after you see this film, you’ll be vying for some scallop, you’ll see.

The rest of the story, involving Steve’s depression and life choices he must face, well, frankly I’ve seen it before, it’s nothing really new. In the end, you know exactly what he’ll choose. The movies true strong points come from Steve & Rob’s chemistry and the hilarious improvised dialogue. “The Trip” is a real trip if you’re in the mood for some serious laughs (hah, see what I did?) you’ll have a grand time. By the by, there’s also a hilarious celeb cameo in one of Steve’s memorable dream sequences, I was stunned to see this guy appear in the movie.

GRADE: B+

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