If you’ve seen any or all of Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s previous ventures (The Trip, The Trip to Italy, The Trip to Spain), you know what to expect from this latest venture from director Michael Winterbottom: an attractive travelogue punctuated by elegant meals and competitive monologues by the two funny, friendly rivals. I call them monologues because their speeches rarely involve each other: each performer takes his turn, interrupts the other, then declaims some more.
Having drained the cup dry on Michael Caine impressions in their first film, they compete to see who can better imitate Mick Jagger, Dustin Hoffman in Marathon Man or a number of British television hosts who are unknown to me. Brydon breaks me up as he repeatedly launches into Bee Gees songs at appropriate and inappropriate moments, while Coogan is cornered into being more of a straight-man.
As always there are periodic calls home as the travelers make their way from Turkey (where the city that was Troy is located) through spectacularly scenic spots on the Greek map.
But there is no narrative thrust and the never-ending banter seems more forced this time around. The concluding sequence goes on much longer than it should and didn’t arrive at a point, so far as I could see. I don’t wish to seem ungrateful, as Brydon and Coogan have given me great pleasure and many laughs in the past, but this half-hearted film (edited down, like the other features, from a six-part British TV series) causes me to unearth a famous slogan from World War II: was this trip really necessary?