By Christian DiMartino
Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s The Trip to series follows an easy formula. Each film stars Coogan and Brydon as fictionalized versions of themselves, eating, drinking and riffing in exotic locations, with each of them making phone calls back home to show that, besides the lives they lead in these exotic locations, they still have lives to return to whenever they get back home. All four films- The Trip, The Trip to Italy, The Trip to Spain, and now The Trip to Greece- cover similar ground, and even similar impersonations, from their famous Michael Caine impersonation to Tom Hardy. I know this sounds like a complaint, but trust me, it’s not.
The latest, and supposedly final, film, The Trip to Greece, follows this formula once more. And yet what’s surprising about each film is that they’re very immensely watchable. Yes, we are basically watching two wealthy people enjoy lives that we wish we could enjoy, but the key to each of them, outside of the gorgeous locations and the food, is that we’re living vicariously through great company.
Coogan and Brydon work effortless wonders together. I’m 99% sure that none of their banter is scripted. It doesn’t need to be. Everything in each of these films is natural. We are basically just watching two good friends enjoying their lives and dogging on each other, in another country. It also helps that these two, together and separately, are hilarious.
This time we find Coogan and Brydon… well the title says it. But basically they’re following the same route that Odysseus traveled in Homer’s The Odyssey. They eat, drink, do killer impersonations- this time of Ray Winstone and Dustin Hoffman, to name a few. Yet looming in the background is their lives back home.
This is said to be the final film of the… saga. Such a big word for movies so proudly simple in concept. The ending of The Trip to Greece is an interesting one, particularly if this is indeed the final trip. I say this because the film ends on a rather somber note, considering what led up to it was so funny. Yet it also ends in a way that shows what the series was building towards all along, we just might not have realized.
Despite the great times that these two have together, all good things must come to an end. Vacations really are grand, even if a vacation consists of nothing, but in the end, there is still the trip home- to reality. Which is, my guess, what Coogan, Brydon, and Director Michael Winterbottom were going for all along . Here they come to a rather emotional end, but not for reasons that you may expect. I’ll avoid the details, but it’s a film that surprisingly creeps up on you.
I can see why Coogan and Brydon have said this is the grand finale… and what’s interesting is that the finale isn’t that grand. Not grand, at least, in the way that a series finale should be. But also, neither are any of these movies. They’re just light, pretty funny entertainment. This one just goes a notch above that though. My hope is that this isn’t the final Trip, but if it is, at least the gang went out on a solid note.