Who could’ve guessed in 2010 that an improvisational comedy with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, The Trip, would culminate in what is the best ongoing comedy franchise going? This year brought us the third installment in the series with The Trip to Spain, once again uniting these two comedic forces on a journey of food and witty banter. Michael Winterbottom directs this next marvelous installment in this comedy series that feels like taking fantastic vacations with two of your wittiest friends, enjoying delicious meals with a glass of fine wine accompanied by a Michael Caine impression. Following The Trip to Spain, I’d follow Coogan and Brydon anywhere in the globe. I’d even eagerly anticipate The Trip to the Dentist.
As they’ve done in previous adventures together, Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan play fictionalized versions of themselves on assignment to traverse certain locales and write about their fine dining experiences. Of course, each of these comedians are dealing with personal and professional matters along the way and each often finds a form of literary inspiration for their ventures. Last time, in The Trip to Italy, the two took their inspiration from the poets Byron and Shelley. This time Brydon takes his inspiration from Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote while Coogan finds his inspiration in Laurie Lee’s As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning. As expected, these two not only exchange verbal barbs at one another, they try to one up each other with their impeccable impersonations, including old favorites like Michael Caine and a new addition with a memorable take on Mick Jagger. On top of all the hilarious banter is gorgeous scenery of the Spanish countryside and various old castles and towns that flavor the movie. Also flavoring the movie are the various stops at restaurants, Winterbottom whetting the audience’s appetite with glimpses of each meal in its preparation phase.
Each installment of The Trip movies feel like a form of cinematic comfort food. No matter the weather. No matter your mood. No matter whatever leftovers you’re reheating. You can always take a trip to another land with two old friends. You can soak up the sun and the lush scenery while enjoying a taste of the high life with fine dining and intellectually stimulating conversation that always features a laugh. Discussions of history and culture accompany every meal, sometimes picking up from where we last left off and other times tackling a whole new topic. For 90 minutes, you can lose yourself in trek to a whole new land. That’s what makes The Trip to Spain and its predecessors so special.
Now that The Trip to Spain has been issued on Blu-ray from the good people at Shout! Factory, I’ll lose myself in locales and laughter whenever I might be feeling the slightest bit down. I will laugh at the thought of Mick Jagger performing Shakespeare and feel my mouth water as each new plate comes to the table. There are no special features on the Blu-ray of The Trip to Spain, but that’s not a problem. It’s hard to find something that can be so alluring and comforting no matter your mood. Who needs special features when the feature itself is so special, and that’s The Trip to Spain. I’m ready to follow Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon to any corner of the world. As a matter of fact, I’m already packed.