The Trip is one of the odder on the road, buddy movies. Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, playing themselves, take off on a road trip to northern England’s finer restaurants. Coogan is assigned to sample their dishes and author a review on them for the Observer. He invites Brydon along for the ride after his girlfriend and several other friends decline the invitation first.
90% of the film is just back and forth banter between the two British comedians, mostly impressions. They compare their Michael Caine impressions and they are amazingly spot on. They also try out Anthony Hopkins, Ian McKellan, Roger Moore, and a host of others. Intercut between these impressions and other comedic diatribes is a deeper and more personal story. Brydon has a wife and newborn waiting for him back in London but Coogan is in a rough patch with his younger American girlfriend and proceeds through a few one night stands during the trip. There are scenes showing his insecurity with her and a few which show the two friends comparing careers and who is more successful. Coogan is more internationally known but Brydon gets recognized more on the street in northern England.
The last film starring these two was Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story which was about how utterly hard it would be to film the novel Tristram Shandy. That film was comedic genius and still makes me laugh to think about it. The Trip does not rise to that Tristram Shandy’s level, but there are plenty of moments to enjoy here, especially if you are at all familiar with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. If you have never heard of these guys before, you will not get too much out of The Trip except for some laughs at their impressions and a spectacular scene in their Range Rover about improving the line “We rise at dawn.”