The Trip To Spain

by Greg Vellante

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday August 11, 2017

Rob Brydon stars in 'The Trip to Spain'
Rob Brydon stars in 'The Trip to Spain'  

Can you recall the best trip you've ever taken? How about the best meal you've ever eaten? Or, perhaps, the best conversation you've ever shared with another person? Odds are, these memories are strong, yet fragmented. You remember moments from your trip, but not the whole picture from start to finish. You recall the main dish, but perhaps you haven't retained what you had to drink or what was served on the side. You recollect the conversation you had, but all that stands out are the highlights.

This is essentially how I've felt about all three of Michael Winterbottom's "The Trip to..." films, a franchise that has proven widely successful in both its series and feature film forms (the three-season BBC series has been trimmed down for theatrical release with all three entries). The films are funny and light, channeling the slaphappy humor, palettes and wanderlust of its two leading men (Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, playing not-too-fictional versions of themselves).

The gist of each film is simple: Coogan and Brydon go on a trip and visit a myriad of restaurants and landmarks, all the while swapping jokes, observations and impressions of notable celebrities (including Brydon's godsend impersonation of Michael Caine, which Coogan always tries to compete against to no avail).

But in their simplicity, Winterbottom's franchise unfortunately sacrifices permanence. These films last as long in one's mind as a three course meal does in the stomach. What can I recall strongly from the series' most recent entry, "The Trip to Spain," aside from a few notable impressions, funny dialogue exchanges and close-ups of delicious food? Not much.

That being said, I still remember laughing, smirking and having a fairly good time that, despite overstaying its welcome due to the film's unnecessarily prolonged running time, made for an extremely passable two hours at the movies. It's how I've felt about all three films, so I reckon that those who loved the first two will continue this sentiment going into the third film.

It's all just more of the same, so frequent flyers get rewarded. It's all a matter of what lens you're viewing the franchise through. For many, it's up in first class, front row, with a comfy pillow and plenty of leg room. For me, it was more of an uncomfortable, yet tolerable, aisle seat in coach.