TriBeCa 2011: The Trip

| April 18, 2011

Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Al Pacino– that is a more than decent cast, but they only appear in The Trip, via concrete impressions from shining British comedians Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan. A hundred minutes of great impressions might have been amply entertaining, but the ceaseless piercing repartee and lack of wild escapades puts a much-needed, brisk and smart spin on the road-trip comedy.
Brydon and Coogan play fictionalized versions of themselves in The Trip, and reunites them with director Michael Winterbottom (Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story). In the film Coogan’s girlfriend is taking a break from him, leaving a whole in the plans they have already made to spend five days up north in the country side, taking in the lush or the land and visiting restaurants with extravagant menus. He invites his domesticated comedian buddy Brydon to join him and so begins a long series of chaffing exchanges and heated debates.
However, beyond the banter exists some heavy character analysis. While, Brydon is comfortable with both his career and his domestic life, Coogan is feeling lost in both. His unattached lifestyle has lead him to forty-something and still not the boyfriend, the father or the actor he wants to be.
When the serious talk is cloaked in the comedic exchanges (bickering over their future eulogies or discussing whether they would allow their children to suffer from a short, fleeting sickness if it insured them an Oscar win) it is really a perfect, hilarious amalgamation. But, there are points during The Trip, where Coogan’s self-reflection feels overstated and gloomy, causing somewhat of a weird shift.
The Trip, was edited into a feature film from a six-part sitcom that aired in the UK last year. That may explain the shift– maybe its all in the editing. It may suffer at the hands of its pace and a tad bit of melodrama at times, but Coogan and Brydon are just too good together and create engaging comedy.

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