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MOVIE REVIEW: The Trip

The funniest movie opening this weekend

  • (L-R) Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan in "The Trip."
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When I saw the film Sideways, I remember reading a critic that said “I’d love to spend a day hanging out with these guys.” It made no sense. One of them was a sad-sack wine snob, who only seemed interested in his book deal. Another just wanted to get laid. Don’t get me wrong – I loved spending two hours with them.

Now, the two guys in The Trip – comedian/actors/BBC radio stars Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon – I’d love spending a week traveling with these guys and making fun of food at the various restaurants they hit in Northern England. Aside from the radio shows these guys have done together, they were in Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story. The director of that suggested that they do this movie. Tristram was a great concept for a film (the making of a movie, of a funny book that everybody said would be impossible to film). It was a bloody mess with very few laughs.

I’m glad this movie worked. Ever since I saw the trailer for it, with the guys doing various impersonations of actors, I’ve been eager to see it, and wasn’t disappointed.

This is a road-trip, buddy picture where Steve Coogan once again, plays Steve Coogan (believe this is the third time he’s done that). His on again/off again girlfriend has gone to Las Vegas, and she suggested he write reviews of various restaurants.

The two middle-aged guys deal with their life differently – one happily married with a young child and the other still chasing women and dreaming of fame (sometimes with dreams that have fun cameos). Coogan doesn’t want to bring Brydon on the trip – but he’s the only one willing to go. They’ve been friends for over a decade, and they sometimes get on each others nerves.

What makes this so great is that the set-up is believable. You shouldn’t wonder why somebody would invite somebody on a trip that they hate. Yet, we can see why Coogan gets tired of Brydon’s antics, but also why he likes the guy. He can be a blast to be around. You might get annoyed at his “talking in a box” character, and his always having to break into an impersonation; but instead of just pouting about it, Coogan joins in on the fun, often arguing with Brydon about what he’s doing wrong with the celebrity voices.

There’s one scene where he has to explain how Michael Caine no longer talks the way he used to. It goes on and on, and is hysterical. Another scene involves them doing a James Bond villain. As bizarre as it is to see ventriloquists that can drink water while the dummy talks – watching these guys doing impersonations while drinking water was off the charts.

As funny as it was listening to Christopher Guest rattle off various nuts in Best in Show – listening to these two guys rattle off “Moore’s” is even funnier. They ad-libbed a lot of the stuff in The Trip, which shows why comedians are so much more talented than you can fathom.

Even when these guys aren’t riffing on impersonations, just watching them sing Abba at the top of their lungs is interesting. Usually comedians that rely strictly on impersonations, have weaker material. Yet it’s funny watching these comedians do them, dissect them, practice them, and annoy people with them.

I prefer guys sitting over dinner trying to make each other laugh, as oppose to discussing the meaning of life (side note: My Dinner with Andre was so overrated). This movie isn’t for everybody, but it was for me. If you’re not sure who Billy Connolly (or Steve Coogan) is – this movie probably isn’t for you.

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  • Rating: 4 of 5