Routine Repasts: Our Review of ‘The Trip to Spain’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - August 03, 2017
Routine Repasts: Our Review of ‘The Trip to Spain’

Various delusions of aging and misguided attempts at clinging on to the past exist in The Trip to Spain, a third entry into a simple and brilliant comedic conceit, and unfortunately those themes are a bit too self reflexive.

Reuniting on screen yet again as exaggerated versions of themselves, British wits Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon take a week’s outing sampling food and drink in a European country, offering funny impressions, accounts, and semblance of brotherhood. As this is iteration number three, following working vacations in England and Italy, Spain feels a bit tired and familiar, without either the surprise of the first or the command of the second.

Some of it, of course, has always been lost in translation. Or rather, editing. Each ‘trip’ movie as it were is in fact a series aired on British television, so the episodic storytelling there is made into a film here. Those plot points that are sort of left unfulfilled include anything to do with family and lovers, but Michael Winterbottom’s observational, causal direction, and our familiarity with the two central characters still keeps things interesting.

Still, it seems the jokes aren’t as sharp as they used to be. Ongoing references include a love for the dearly departed Roger Moore and Coogan’s Oscar mentions having starred and co written Philomena. Yet it seems fewer hit home, and the greatest hits – impressions of Michael Caine, for instance – have been done to death.

The Trip to Spain is beautiful and has some loveliness to it, but also a sense of melancholy. These two men have done this before, and while they and we enjoy it, it won’t be as it once was. Everything changes, as they take note. Some people move forward and accept it, while others fight and cling to the past. Here, we get both.

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