May 18, 2020

SCREEN | Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon Leave 'The Trip to Greece'

Steve Coogan Rob Brydon Michael Winterbottom | The Trip to Greece
IFC Films / Elevation Pictures
Journeyman British filmmaker Michael Winterbottom reteams for a fourth (and purportedly final) time with British comedians and longtime co-collaborators Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, starring once again as loosely fictionalized, more performative celebrity versions of themselves, for another installment of their dryly hilarious, semi-improvised travelogue, The Trip to Greece—after the original trip to Northern England then followed by Italy and Spain.

Always produced and aired as a six-episode half-hour comedy series for British television, each season has been re-edited by Winterbottom into a single feature-length film for distribution to non-European audiences in a winning formula of docu-style humour and travel. Once again, this Trip consists of largely filmed semi-improvised conversations between Coogan and Brydon mucking it up in various five-star restaurants and tropical locales riffing on their own personal histories in the entertainment business. Each season/film has been modelled after a different European historical literary work with this one being Homer's Odyssey.

What makes the two-hander, highly narcissistic buddy comedy pairing work for two-hours or six half-hour episodes is a pure sense of comic invention with a lack of any real vanity. Their dynamic chemistry mixed with scenic vistas and gastronomic delights is all The Trip needs to hold our attention. Even the baked-in bleakness of the aging characters over four entries cannot help make their journey more timeless.

This entry in The Trip series fits in with the rest and makes for a bittersweet capper to their decade-long comedy/travel odyssey as entertainment personalities. The trick of the entire series culminating in The Trip to Greece has always been the personal exploration of our leads as themselves as real people, their characters as caricatures, and talent as performers in completely naturalistic yet touristy destinations to contrast their lives, both real and fictionalized.

The Trip to Greece is available to stream on various digital platforms and through video on demand starting May 22nd.

More | YVArcade / AV Club / Indiewire / ScreenCrush

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