The Trip To Spain

The buzz is that while we all still love Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, their Trip schtick is looking a bit stale on its third go-round. Well, I’m here to tell you that I loved this one best of all.

I certainly laughed more than anyone else in the cinema. Mind you, it was a boutique cinema and there were only four other people in it.

At one stage I actually got to that point, beyond chuckle, chortle, giggle or guffaw, where your eyes crinkle up and you actually heave with laughter. That was when Rob Brydon was doing Picasso as played by Anthony Hopkins playing Captain Bligh of the Bounty. It sounds absurd but I think that’s why this Trip is so good: Brydon’s comic instincts are given full anarchic licence and the results are frequently hilarious.

It struck me that their relative roles have ripened and clarified. Brydon is the natural comedian who sees the funny potential in everything while Coogan, although on paper the more successful in terms of achievements and accolades, is the more insecure about both his career and his personal life. They are each other’s perfect foils.

All our old favourites are there: Sean Connery, Woody Allen, Michael Caine, Marlon Brando. Mick Jagger is a new addition to the repertoire of both, and they strive mightily to outdo each other in capturing him in every mood and posture. Somehow they get on to imagining Mick doing Shakespeare, specifically Hamlet, then a gay Hamlet and … well, you had to be there.

No harm in freshening up an old formula that works. There’s a reprise of the scene where the lads have two female guests. Steve tries to impress them with his knowledge of Spanish history, going on and on about the Moors and how they introduced oranges to Europe and translated the ancient Greek philosophers etc etc. All the while Rob keeps up an ad lib commentary in the perfectly nailed voice of actor Roger Moore, as if Steve is actually talking about the Moore family. It’s a comic tour de force.

The Spanish Inquisition gets a mention, of course, along with a gracious nod to the Monty Python team, and watch out for Rob doing Torquemada as Brando.

Steve’s dreams are good too. And there’s a curiously dark ending. But I’ll say no more…you either love them or you don’t, and if you do, go and see it.

This review was first published on Facebook in August 2017