I mention in another post how I’ve reacquainted myself with the joys of the Netflix streaming library. I’ve watched several smaller movies from 2011 that I enjoyed quite a bit and look forward to reviewing. Tonight, though, I saw one that, as much as I looked forward to seeing it, I just can’t recommend. Tonight’s movie was The Trip, a mockumentary starring British comedians and actors Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as, basically, themselves. Directed by Michael Winterbottom, who directed Coogan in 24 Hour Party People, a film I do recommend, The Trip is a quasi followup to the collaborators’ work in A Cock and Bull Story, another sort of mockumentary from 2006 that I had heard great things about. The Trip was actually edited down from a six part BBC mini series into about a two hour film, and it involves Coogan and Brydon teaming up for a restaurant tour of Northern England. Coogan and Brydon attempt to send up hyper versions of themselves by laying on super thick scenes of themselves riffing off one another. The whole thing, on paper, sounds like it should be loads of fun. And there are individual scenes that work, with a couple that are laugh out loud funny. But for me, the irony of this movie is that while they are trying to make us laugh at a fictionalized version of their characters’ self absorption, instead of being funny, it mostly just comes across as actually self absorbed. There seems to be a tremendous amount of self satisfaction in this movie that really shouldn’t stick out in a truly well done comedy. I will readily allow that I knew only a small amount about Coogan, and nothing about Brydon coming into the film. It likely would have helped to know more about their public personas, allowing me to be more “in” on the jokes. And I suppose the bits would have been funnier and easier to take in the shorter TV episodes the film was based on. In the end, though, the constant and never ending impressions of other celebrities and incessant one upsmanship that is the core of the film came across as almost hectoring. Much of the film takes place while the two are driving, and I found myself thinking I would have hated to have been trapped in the car with these guys. Even though this is supposed to be a mockumentary focused on the two stars, director Winterbottom produces some truly beautiful scenes and photography of the English countryside, as well as the food the actors eat on their travels. Unfortunately, as I watched these scenes, it sort of sums up my view of the film that I thought there may have been an interesting movie in there somewhere if Coogan and Brydon just not been in it. The Trip received overwhelming critical praise upon its release, so part of me assumes I just missed something about it. But I can’t recommend it as even a film to stream.
Don’t Take The Trip