The Trip (image 1)

The casual, subtle, improvised quality of The Trip can’t quite conceal how brilliant it is... An instant classic of British comedy.

Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com

Screened as part of NZIFF 2011

The Trip 2010

Directed by Michael Winterbottom

Comedians Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan take a road tour of northern English restaurants. "Hilarious and touching... like a funnier, flakier, madcap British version of My Dinner With Andre." — Entertainment Weekly

UK In English
107 minutes

Producers

Andrew Eaton
,
Melissa Parmenter

Photography

Ben Smithard

Editors

Mags Arnold
,
Paul Monaghan

Music

Michael Nyman

With

Steve Coogan (Steve)
,
Rob Brydon (Rob)
,
Rebecca Johnson (Rob’s wife)
,
Margo Stilley (Mischa)
,
Claire Keelan (Emma)
,
Marta Barrio (Yolanda)
,
Elodie Harrod (baby Chloe)
,
Dolya Gavanski (Polish receptionist)
,
Justin Edwards (Mat)
,
Kerry Shale (Steve’s US agent)

Festivals

Toronto 2010; Tribeca, San Francisco 2011

Elsewhere

There is comic alchemy in Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s reprisal of their roles – versions of themselves – from Michael Winterbottom’s 2005 Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story. In The Trip, the two 40-something actors are on a tour of northern English restaurants, which Coogan is to review for a Sunday newspaper. Having been snubbed by his American girlfriend, Coogan has grudgingly enlisted his old friend Brydon to occupy the Range Rover passenger seat, and so begins a very funny, and surprisingly moving, road movie – something like a stripped-back Sideways with a British accent.

At turns witty, brilliant, venal, vain and lascivious, Coogan is bedevilled by a self-doubt that impels him to chip imperiously away at Brydon, whose improvisational wit is a consistent match for his more famous co-star. There is one hell of a supporting cast: Woody Allen, Anthony Hopkins, Al Pacino, Michael Caine, Dustin Hoffman, Sean Connery, Hugh Grant, and even Richard Burton make appearances – appearances, that is, as conjured by Coogan and Brydon in repeated ping-pong sessions of impressions. It should be excruciating, and sometimes it is. But it is fall-over, fits-of-laughter funny.

Then there’s the photography. Winterbottom’s staccato montages of busy kitchens at work are oddly compelling, as, by contrast, are the lingering shots of lustrous northern landscape. The Trip mulls ideas of friendship and family, ageing, loyalty and fame, but what sets it apart are the performances by Coogan and Brydon, which warrant a place in the pantheon of great British comedy double-acts. — TM