Stay At Home For THE TRIP On DemandJune 29, 2011

Stay At Home For THE TRIP On Demand

IFC Films

On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand and from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: THE TRIP (IFC Films).


Stay At Home For THE TRIP On Demand
By Chris Claro


From star vehicles A MIGHTY HEART and JUDE to curiosity CODE 46 and the sexually explicit 9 SONGS, Michael Winterbottom’s filmography feels like the Netflix queue of a blindfolded, maybe drunk subscriber.

 


Michael Winterbottom / THE TRIP (IFC Films)

Winterbottom’s latest, THE TRIP, does nothing to dispel the director’s aura of eclecticism. Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon star as “themselves,” traversing the English countryside on a restaurant review tour. Between meals, Coogan deals with relationship issues and charms every woman he meets, it seems. The minimally plotted film is a pared-down rendition of the partially improvised six-episode series that aired in the UK.

 


Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon / THE TRIP (IFC Films)

A shambling study of the ennui of the privileged, with an ancillary, airless story, THE TRIP earns its comparison to CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM in its willingness to show Coogan as a bit of a prick. While Brydon is happily married and riding shotgun on a lark, Coogan is burdened not only with problems at home, but his desire to be taken more seriously as an actor.

The scenes that deal with the actor’s insecurity are the film’s most ponderous, and Coogan’s self-regard would be insufferable if not for his facility as a comic. THE TRIP is at its best when Winterbottom lets his actors breathe as they shuttle from one eatery to the next. Coogan and Brydon are adept mimics, and their caricatures of Sean Connery, Richard Burton, and Anthony Hopkins, are stinging, spot-on impressions.

 

Both men also do a deadly Michael Caine, but each attacks the performance, hilariously, from a completely different angle.

 

 

Its TV roots making it less a film than a series of episodes, THE TRIP is weirdly engaging, with a simple but satisfying ping-pong of comic riffs fortifying the thin broth that passes for a story. Winterbottom knows how much is enough, despite the film’s overlong running time. While THE TRIP can’t help recalling MY DINNER WITH ANDRE, each with its table-for-two tropes, Winterbottom alleviates the stasis of the numerous meal scenes with slickly shot and edited kitchen footage of chefs preparing the meals for the characters.

 


Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon / THE TRIP (IFC Films)

Coogan, familiar to stateside audiences for TROPIC THUNDER, THE OTHER GUYS, and his series, THE ALAN PARTRIDGE SHOW, gives a performance that would be considered courageous by some and indulgent by others. Not afraid to be cretinous, Coogan carries on in the tradition of such miserably funny characters as Larry Sanders. Brydon is a revelation, at least to me, with a big open grin and a manner as warm as Coogan’s is guarded. His self-mockery is a perfect foil to Coogan’s insular aloofness.

THE TRIP is an original, a sort-of movie that overstays its welcome a bit, but it takes the audience on a toothsome jaunt that features beautiful scenery, fabulous food, and the untethered comedy of Coogan and Brydon. If you’re up for something decidedly offbeat, hop on for THE TRIP.

 

 
DEMAND IT

 

- Chris Claro

Chris
Chris Claro is a contributing writer to On Demand Weekly. He is a former Director of Promotion for Sundance Channel and now works as a writer, producer, and media educator. He is a regular contributor to dvdverdict.com and contributor to the Eyes and Ears section of huffingtonpost.com

 

Look for THE TRIP (IFC Films). under your cable system's Movie On Demand section.


 

See Chris' Other Reviews...

THE PERFECT HOSTDEMAND IT

ZONAD - DEMAND IT

THE BANG BANG CLUB - DEMAND IT

SUPER - starring Rainn Wilson - DEMAND IT

THE MAN FROM NOWHERE - DEMAND IT

PEEP WORLD - SKIP IT

VANISHING ON 7TH STREET - SKIP IT

COLD WEATHER - DEMAND IT

SEPTIEN - RISK IT

THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN AMERICA: DANIEL ELLSBERG AND THE PENTAGON PAPERS - DEMAND IT

XXY - DEMAND IT

« Previous
Next »