Tribeca 2017: The Trip To Spain
Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon, and director Michael Winterbottom reunite for a third helping of sumptuous dishes and goofy impressions, in what's the best installment in The Trip series to date.
On assignment in exotic Spain where they travel from locale to locale, taking in the finest cuisine and culture while also catching up on what they've been up to in the past few years, it's a joy to see that Coogan and Brydon's witty banter has not been lost. They have changed in some ways - Coogan is attempting to make a fresh start in his career after becoming an Oscar nominated screenwriter, while Brydon is dealing with the pressures of fatherhood. Halfway through the film, they each receive an unexpected development pertaining to the other's situation, providing some dramatic stakes that feel organic and believable.
But this is a comedic travelogue after all and each actor is only portraying partly-fictionalized versions of themselves, and The Trip To Spain certainly satisfies in that department. Coogan and Brydon are one of modern comedy's most delectable pairings, and half the fun is seeing how they poke fun at themselves while also being able to come off as genuine at the same time.
Hilarious from start to finish, as the duo spend a week regaling in each other's friendship and troubles and doing their best to outdo one another when it comes to impressions (in addition to the obligatory Michael Caine, we also get David Bowie, Marlon Brando, Mick Jagger, and Roger Moore this time around). Adding to the environment is the latent fascination with Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote, referenced near the start and then literally factored into the story through a humorous photo op.
But underneath, the parallels are more striking, like Quixote and Sancho Panza we see Coogan and Brydon as two men embarking on a journey who may hold a loony pretense in their demeanour but are incredibly graceful in their essence. And why hey migh not be fighting against windmills turned giants, their great battle is one of a mid-life crisis that seeps into their conscience and guides their actions, as it dawns on them that they aren't quite the young and free men they once were.
The Trip To Spain is sure to be a summer sleeper hit, like taking a tropical vacation without having to leave the comfort of the theatre auditorium. If you liked the first two then you're bound to enjoy this, and hopefully we get to see these two again in a couple of years.