Saturday, August 06, 2011

The Trip

As its name implies, The Trip is a road trip movie, and it's done really, really well. I discovered after I started writing this blog that it's actually a condensed version of a 6 part BBC TV series of the same name - so I'm not sure if we or the TV audience got the best of the deal. British Comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon go on a gastronomic trip around Lancashire, Cumbria and Yorkshire, purportedly because Steve Coogan's girlfriend dropped out at short notice.

This premise provides layers and layers of entertainment potential. Firstly, the scenery is great, and since we went to most their destinations 20 years ago it had the pleasure of the revisiting old haunts. In particular, Malham Cove in Yorkshire is just as spectacular as I remember.

Secondly, it puts two very funny people together to amuse us. Lots of time is spent in idle banter, competitive impersonation of other actors, making puns and singing. It's just fun to be tagging along.

Thirdly, there's an interesting investigation of Rob and Steve's friendship, with a clever contrasting of their personal lives and personalities. Steve is portrayed as sexier but more troubled - the bigger woman magnet and the one with the broken marriage. Rob is portrayed as the devoted new dad with a loving wife waiting at home. Their relationship is portrayed as superficial and competitive, but as the film unfolds it seems that genuine affection and enjoyment of each other's company emerges. An insight into how much this is fact or fiction appears in a Guardian Article if you want to know more.

Fourthly, there's a background of gourmet food - I thought this was going to part of the comedy, a sort of piss-take on pretentiousness but this wasn't the case. Maybe the food was a bigger part of the TV series.

And fifthly, there's a kind of celebration of Englishness - epitomised, I thought, by Steve Coogan's parents - cups of tea, an enthusiastic dissertation on the best route from A to B and a dismissal of Steve as being not as funny as his siblings.

The Trip is laugh-out-loud funny and I think you should go.

Anne's rating 5/5. Ian's rating 3/5.

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