The Trip to Spain
Posted on August 24, 2017 at 5:08 pmB +
|Lowest Recommended Age:||High School|
|MPAA Rating:||Not rated|
|Violence/ Scariness:||Some peril|
|Date Released to Theaters:||August 18, 2017|
In the third “Trip” movie, with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon again traveling through gorgeous countryside, eating exquisitely prepared meals, and trying to top each other’s impressions, Coogan does something we have not seen before. He laughs. The series plays deftly with what is real (the actors’ names, the general outline of their careers, their improvised banter) and what is fiction (their heightened characteristics and tension between them, their family members, romantic interests, and professional colleagues played by actors and the created relationships and developments, the fact that they do not acknowledge they are being filmed). Coogan’s character, that is, the version of himself he plays in the films, is at the same time insecure and superior, and therefore he usually responds to Brydon’s comments and performances by either insulting them or topping them. But in one scene here, he can’t help himself; he just laughs, more than once, and we see a very different, more relaxed, genuine, and appreciative, perhaps more “real” Coogan.
In this third “trip,” the pair goes to Spain, where the literary overlay is Don Quixote (they even dress up as Quixote and Sancho Panza for a photo shoot), the impressions are as funny as ever (Mick Jagger, John Hurt, Roger Moore talking about the Moors), and the subject of aging comes up now and then. They assure each other that in their 50’s they are in the “sweet spot,” still attractive to women and if, too old to play Hamlet, still too young for Lear. Coogan, always wanting to appear erudite and successful, finds a way to mention the Oscar nominations for “Philomena” (he co-wrote and starred in it), and his new script, called “Missing.” And Brydon points out that “Philomena” was the story of a mother looking for her son and “Missing” is the story of a father looking for his daughter, so perhaps it might be time to go in another direction. The two men go back and forth, jockeying with each other in a dozen different ways, as they obliquely and sometimes directly engage with the passage of time, between glimpses of flaming pans and delectable sauces being spread just so.
Coogan and Brydon are more comfortable and compatible in this version, and, as always, very, very funny. If they get on each other’s nerves, for us in the audience they are excellent traveling companions. The poignancy of their choices and disappointments adds some welcome depth and complexity. There have been some complaints and controversy about the end of the film, which is jarring and out of place with the mood of the series. I am not sure what it is intended to do, but I hope that there will be another trip to find out.
Parents should know that this film includes very strong language, alcohol, teen pregnancy, sexual references, and some implied peril.
Family discussion: Why do Rob and Steve enjoy impersonations so much? Do you agree with Rob’s decision? What should Steve have said to his son?
If you like this, try: the other “Trip” movies with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, and of course “Philomina”