Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon team up for their third ‘Trip’ together, but you can sit this one out
A trip to Spain is supposed to be a pleasurable experience. “The Trip to Spain” is a weirdly acidic one.
Here, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon team up for their third “Trip” together, following 2011’s “The Trip” and 2014’s “The Trip to Italy.” The two comedic actors play slightly fictionalized versions of themselves, traversing through the Spanish countryside on a journey of culinary pleasures, but they barely even seem like friends. They have a familiarity that has bred a strange sort of contempt, and their conversations, such as they are, amount to little more than celebrity impressions presented as a game of escalating hostility.
Male friendships aren’t always the easiest to navigate; parties can go years without seeing each other and get quickly caught up without ever discussing anything of importance. But there’s a love, or at least a base level enjoyment of each other’s company, at the core. “The Trip to Spain” feels like an obligation, both on the part of the characters and the real life parties — Michael Winterbottom is back on board as director — who put it together.
Winterbottom films Coogan and Brydon at a series of restaurants and cafes that look positively delightful, and he cuts up their conversations with shots of food or cooks preparing meals. (The outtakes would probably make for a lovely show on the Food Network.) But Coogan and Brydon, falling into old impressions of Mick Jagger, Michael Caine, David Bowie and, in one excruciating bit, Roger Moore, begin to grate, and come off as obnoxious, both to themselves and to the patrons around them, who hopefully got comped for their meals.
There are underpinnings of melancholy in the story, especially for Coogan, who’s dealing with a flighty girlfriend, a troubled son and an agent who skipped out on him. He’s doing his best to to convince himself he’s in the prime of his life, but like these “Trips,” he has seen his better days.
‘The Trip to Spain’
Not rated: Language
Running time: 115 minutes