October 8, 2014

The Trip

Michael Winterbottom, 2011
Steve Coogan (playing himself) reaches out to friend Rob Brydon to see if he is interested in going on a foodie road trip with him after his girlfriend backs out. Soon the two find themselves sitting across from each other at various restaurants across the English countryside eating lavish meals while engaging in dueling impressions with each other.

Steve Coogan is a rather confusing actor. He seems to get a lot of acting work, seems to pop up quite often in the comedy genre, but it’s a bit perplexing as to why. He doesn’t necessarily have a large personality, not a lot of on screen charisma. He is very typically British, possessing a rather dry sense of humor. People seem to either be into Coogan, or just not. Before you see The Trip, you must evaluate your current opinion of Coogan. If you are lukewarm on him, are you ready to sit at a table with him for 90 minutes? Are you ready to be stuck in a car with him, in a hotel room with him? Because he isn’t going to put a whole lot out there. His overall demeanor is very much like the gloomy skies they find themselves traveling in. Perhaps that is what’s a bit challenging with him. In this film, which is a sort of meta & reflective look at his own acting career, his cell phone is constantly ringing (when he has decent reception) offering him roles that he doesn't feel so enthusiastic about. His career challenges are coupled with a broken heart caused by a breakup with girlfriend Mischa. But it’s hard to get on board with Coogan. He just doesn’t really seem like very enjoyable person to be around. It’s even a bit surprising that more charismatic/outgoing/extroverted friend Rob is on board for a road trip with old buddy Steve. Rob is away from his family, children. It’s nice to have a break, but it’s not like it’s all that exciting for him. Perhaps it just comes down to long-standing loyalty. One of the more inconceivable elements of the film is the constant gravitational pull that Coogan seems to have with women. How are they attracted to a man that is constantly sulking? Is it the name recognition? Or is it just a English thing? Overall the film is basically tolerable, with some nice food porn and a great Michael Caine impression by Rob Brydon.

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