Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Trip to Spain

In the third installment of Michael Winterbottom's so-called trilogy, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are whisked away once again to explore the local culture and cuisine. During their week-long travels, they talk, joke around, and explore the country they're in. (Okay, that's a broad summary but an apt one.)

As the first two showed, The Trip to Spain follows the two Brits as they try (unsuccessfully) to leave their professional and private lives temporarily behind them. When they're together, it's clear they put on a facade. It's once both of them are by themselves -- Coogan in particular -- that their self-doubts emerge. (Even for a Winterbottom film, that's pretty dark.)

Of course one of the main focuses of The Trip to Spain is the constant ribbing between Coogan and Brydon. Whether it's towards their careers (the success of Philomena gets brought up a lot) or just what's happening in that moment ("You look like a tentative Nazi"), the bulk of the film's humor comes from these small moments.

But in comparison to the previous films, The Trip to Spain has a more poignant note to it. Amongst the celebrity impressions Coogan and Brydon do are ones of John Hurt and Roger Moore, both of whom -- though still alive during filming -- have passed away in recent months. (They also talk about David Bowie and his death for a scene.) Not often that comedy segues into more somber subjects in total seriousness and honesty.

The Trip to Spain is a welcome entry to this already thriving series. Coogan and Brydon continue to be a great comedic duo (do you think they'll venture beyond Winterbottom?), and of course one wonders where their next journey will take them. (If they make another one, that is.)

My Rating: ****1/2

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