June 9, 2011
The Trip is funny
A new movie from prolific filmmaker Michael Winterbottom is coming out tomorrow: The Trip, which was originally produced for BBC TV last year. It's a largely improvised, loosely structured comedy about Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon playing unflattering alternate versions of themselves, on a fluff-piece assignment for a newspaper to drive around northern England and eat at fancy restaurants.
All 6 episodes of the BBC version used to be on YouTube (some seem to have been taken down) and it's hilarious, though the following description isn't going to make it sound like it is: The two guys ride around, eat dinner, bust each others' chops in a way that usually sounds like friendly competition between actors, but sometimes crosses into open hostility and jealousy, and do lots and lots of impressions that are, surprisingly, funny. It's better than it sounds.
Here's a clip of some impressions, all taken from a single episode:
If you've seen Tristram Shandy, also by Michael Winterbottom and starring the same two guys, you've seen how good they are at funny endless improvised bullshitting: both are unattractively desperate to build themselves up and brag about their careers, and would occasionally seem like they genuinely loathe each other if they didn't work together so often and play off each other so wonderfully.
I'm doing a terrible job at making this movie seem like it's worth watching, but I'm psyched for it. For what it's worth, Time Out gave it 5 stars. Cutting 6 episodes of the TV show down to 107 minutes is going to make it tighter and better, while hopefully still leaving in things like the great circuitous riffs on medieval period piece speeches:
and singing Kate Bush in the car:
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