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The Trip by Michael Winterbottom []



This feature mockumentary, edited down from a BBC television series, stars Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as exaggerations of themselves in the entertaining fictional road movie, The Trip.  The two colleagues continue their antagonistic relationship that began on the screen with Winterbottom’s A Cock and Bull Story.  Coogan initially asks Mischa, his American girlfriend, to accompany him on an assignment where he’ll be writing a magazine piece covering restaurants and quaint inns in the northern English countryside.  We soon learn the actor’s relationship is in trouble and he reluctantly calls on comedian Rob Brydon to join him.
What follows is a one upmanship contest of mythic proportions.  The two bicker over their careers, public perception, height and general approach toward life.  In the car and at various breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner tables they battle it out with celebrity impersonations, vocal range and improvisational wars.  The comedic competition is never ending, but never ceases to be funny.  Contrasting the humor is Coogan’s desperation in private moments.  Cell phone conversations (with a weak signal) to Mischa, his ex-wife, son and agent reveal the actor’s lonelier side and his frustration dealing with aging.

The uncredited supporting role of this film are the beautiful hills and mountains and the elaborate dishes Rob and Steve are served.  Most importantly however, the friendship seen on screen, though obscured by Coogan’s condescension and bitterness, is rather touching at times.  Despite his best efforts to isolate himself, this is possibly a story about meaningful human relationships.

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