#REVIEW: “THE TRIP TO SPAIN”
Review by Siobhán Rich for Mr. Will Wong
When friends drift apart, old bits become strained and comfortable silences become filled with patter rather than banter. Director Michael Winterbottom returns to familiar territory with The Trip to Spain which reunites Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as friends who prove that maintaining relationships isn’t always an easy road but the effort is always worthwhile.
Coogan and Brydon play versions of themselves in this triptik around Spain. Brought together for another series of restaurant reviews, they drive through winding roads and picturesque villages in search of the best off-the-beaten-path food the country has to offer. Through jokes, songs, and an endless stream of celebrity impressions the audience will laugh even as they feel the tension rise uncomfortably between the two men. While the friends have always taken shots at each other, the envy they each feel for the other’s life feels rawer this time as they retread old jokes and familiar punchlines.
The reason the Trip Movies work is the chemistry between Coogan and Brydon. The two men clearly enjoy making these Movies and their friendship feels authentic despite the jabs they take at each other. In one sequence, they mock the critics who think the impressions in previous Movies are overplayed by having Brydon do a Roger Moore impression for far too long. You can clearly see both men laughing even as they commit to the bit thus making it even more amusing.
The Movie is weakest when it spends time away from the central story of friendship, travel, and food. Conversations with Coogan’s girlfriend or Brydon’s wife feel like Winterbottom is trying to sell asparagus when the audience is really there for the meaty main course.
The word franchise is thrown round a lot when discussing billion-dollar movies and their never-ending series of sequels. It is therefore odd to call The Trip to Spain as the third in a Franchise. Like its predecessors, Spain is edited together for international audiences from the duo’s British television show, The Trip. Unlike the previous Films, this one leaves no doubt there will be a fourth movie to look forward to.
Despite an off-key Third Act, The Trip to Spain hits the right notes and will leave audiences laughing and very hungry. So, grab a friend and maybe some calamari “like grandma made,” and head out to see The Trip to Spain this weekend. You won’t be disappointed.
eOne Films relase THE TRIP TO SPAIN Friday, August 4, 2017.