Film Friday: The Trip (2010)


Poster: The Trip, 2011. Directed by Michael Winterbottom, and based on BBC series of the same name.

Confession: I have a really loud laugh.

And yes, I know that can be very annoying in the cinema. I really can’t help it (or the sometimes-accompanying snort), but (thankfully?) I don’t often see films that really, really make me laugh.

The Trip is an exception. Fortunately, the people around me in the cinema thought so to, and I was largely drowned out.

The Trip is a foodie comedy road movie shot through with a sort of wistfulness that perhaps comes from the two lead actors playing versions of themselves. The film is constructed from edited-together footage from a BBC TV series in which the two — Steve Coogan and Rob Bryden — visit a series of restaurants in the north of England which Coogan has (for the purposes of the story) been commissioned to review for a national newspaper.

Despite this premise, and some lovingly shot scenes of restaurant kitchens, food very much takes a backseat in the film (assume you’re travelling in a bus — that sort of back seat).

Instead, the momentum and humour come from the interplay between the leads. Part friendship, part rivalry, their conversations and banter travel along a shifting boundary between their fictional and real selves. Both men are known as comic actors and gifted mimics, and it’s their mimicry that really brings the laughs.

Since The Trip, three more series and three more films have been made, with the pair travelling to different destinations in each. I have seen the second — The Trip, Italy — and found it funny although not significantly different to the original. I wonder if the third and fourth trips — to Spain and Greece — have found new territory to explore?

As actors playing actors in films that rely on naturalistic, possibly unscripted dialogue, most of the conversations are about the media. With that comes a sense that the audience is expected to be “in the know” — to be familiar with the people and films they talk about — indeed to be students of Coogan and Bryden’s own work. Without that knowledge, I doubt The Trip and it’s sequels would be nearly as funny.

So not a Top 100 movie, but one that has the power to make people laugh out loud. Right now, that’s no bad thing.

About Film Friday

Sarah at Art Expedition, and Darren, The Arty Plantsman have initiated this great new blogging project. You can find out more and see their chosen films for the week by visiting the latest post by Darren and Sarah.


18 thoughts on “Film Friday: The Trip (2010)

  1. Pingback: Film Friday: The Trip (2010) — Zimmerbitch | Comedy FESTIVAL

  2. Ooo. Sign me up. I like both of them, but I’m more familiar with Bryden since I watch British panel shows like WILTY. And I’m always looking for a good laugh. Thanks for the recommendation! xo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve seen the one on Spain. They ate in a restaurant I know in Getaria, good but not the best one, which is a few miles down the coast from San Sebastian. Later in the film, they claimed not to have visited the Basque Country! Any foodie film would do a restaurant-crawl of the Basque Country. That aside, it was mildly amusing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ooooh! That seriously sounds like the perfect film!!! I was giggling all the way through your clips – the impressions are amaaaazing!! 😁 I’ve got to go now and see if I can order copies of the film and series at the library!!! Be back in a tick. 😉
    P.S. I’ve also got a really loud laugh and don’t care if people feel annoyed at the cinema – if we’re watching a comedy I’ve got every right to laugh out loud! I rather think people who don’t are weird. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  5. For some reason I had The Trip to Italy on my list of films to see but not this one. Added. And an interesting fact: I was named after an acquaintance of my parents who had such a loud laugh that they always knew when she was in the cinema. 🙂 And then they complain when I laugh.


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