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Featured DVD Review: The Trip

October 27th, 2011

The Trip - Buy from Amazon

The Trip is a pseudo-sequel to Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story. Both movies were directed by Michael Winterbottom and both movies feature Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon playing fictionalized versions of themselves. The original mini-series was cut down to a feature-length running time, but does it still work? Or was too much cut for it to be compelling?

The Movie

In events that happen before the film begins, Steve Coogan wanted to do something special for his girlfriend, Mischa, so he got a job as a food reporter. The pair of them would travel around northern England to a series of fancy restaurants and he would write about the experience. It was to be a romantic getaway and a job. However, just before they were due to go, she dumped him and returned to America. (She needed a break, so it's not quite a clean break-up.) He doesn't want to go alone, so after asking several of his other friends to go, he's been reduced to asking Rob.

The trip starts off on the wrong foot when the two men have to share a room, but when they get a chance to sit and eat, they get to talking about... just about everything. For instance, they discuss what had more cultural impact: The Industrial Revolution or Richard Burton. Really, that's just an excuse for Rob Brydon to break into one of countless impersonations. It seems half this film's running time is duelling impersonations by Rob and Steve. There's a lot of talking over dinner, talking in cars while travelling, talking to people on phones back home. They talk about their careers, their relationships, growing older. There's a clear rivalry between the two and much of the humor comes from the pair trying to one-up each other or some of the subtle, and less subtle, digs at each other.

There's not a lot of plot, but thanks to the incredible wit of the two stars, the film is very entertaining. It also has a deeper emotional level to it, as the two men explore many aspects of getting older, having a career that hasn't quite reached the heights hoped for, settling down and raising a family. Occasionally, both Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon can come off as as a bit of a prick and someone's tolerance for that may be a factor is the overall score they would assign the film, so keep that in mind.

The Extras

Extras on the DVD include a 12-minute making of / behind-the-scenes featurette. There are just over 100 minutes of deleted scenes, which is almost as long as the movie itself. There are an additional 12 minutes of food being prepared and now I'm really, really hungry. I hate being on a diet. (On a side note, in the behind-the-scenes featurette, Rob Brydon talks about gaining 8 pounds in two weeks while making the movie. After seeing how much butter is used in cooking, I'm not surprised.) There are also two image galleries.

The Verdict

The Trip is highly entertaining, despite its thin plot. Michael Winterbottom, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon have created a film that has plenty of laughs and enough heart to give it depth. Add in the two hours of extras on the DVD and it is a must have.

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