The Trip (2010)

I love British humor. I love the dry wit, the self-depreciation, the awkward moments that seem to linger on and on. Steve Coogan is a brilliant comedic actor and writer, and manages to make me laugh and cringe at the same time for almost the entire movie.

The Trip stars Steve Coogan as "Steve Coogan", and Rob Brydon as "Rob Brydon". Both men play themselves, but a sort of caricature of themselves. It's not a hugely exaggerated version, not cartoonish. If anything, it's just a slight step beyond who they really are. Both are friends and collaborators in real life, and you can tell how comfortable they are with eachother and how well they interact and play off one another.

The plot of the movie is loose, with the central theme of Steve and Rob going on a tour of restaurants across the English countryside. Steve is writing a piece for a magazine, and asked Rob to come along for company. There's an instant feeling of both men not being too keen on the idea, but settling for it because there was no better option.

The awkwardness is what really sells this movie for me. Much of it is ad-libbed, and it's very evident that both men know and understand the other's style. They snipe at eachother, taking shots at personal and professional choices; it's mostly good natured, but every once in a while it felt like one got pushed too far and took a legitimate shot at the other. In my head I knew this wasn't a real documentary, but I still squirmed in my seat and cringed more than once.

I know not everyone appreciates this kind of humor, and it can be an acquired taste. Steve Coogan is huge in the UK but hasn't been able to make the crossover to the States. If you're interested in expanding some of your comedic tastes, I think "The Trip" would be a good starting point.



On the [Celluloid Hero] scale, "The Trip" gets an 8 out of 10.

[Each week, Varacchi explores cinema from his own perspective. From indie to foreign to mainstream, he'll watch it all. Suggestions and recommendations are welcome, leave a comment below. CLICK HERE for the Celluloid Hero archives]