tip off

Daily Proposition: take a meandering cinematic Trip

British funnymen Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon coast between hotels, restaurants and quaint countryside locations in director Michael Winterbottom’s Sideways-esque love letter to good food, wine and conversation.

The Trip is essentially a stream of conversation fitted to the personable personalities of its two banter addicted Brits, who are never strapped for a word or a bang-on impersonation of a fellow actor. The duelling Michael Caine scene is an instant classic, but Sean Connery, Woody Allen and Hugh Grant also get memorable (enunciated) appearances.

The story set-up is simple: Coogan intended to take his food aficionado girlfriend on a magazine-sponsored trip around north England but encounters relationship problems and instead takes Brydon, an old mate. The film consists entirely of them on the road, cruising from one pitstop to another in a haze of chatter, with lashings of delicious looking wine and food decorating the tables in front of them.

There’s a lot less plot than Sideways but about the same depth of characterisations from Coogan and Brydon, who play versions of themselves well practised in the 2010 TV show of the same name.

Like Sideways, one character, Coogan’s, is a skirt-chasing party goer while Brydon is slightly more mature (his habit for spirited impersonations notwithstanding) though nothing in the vein of Paul Giamatti’s neurosis. Enjoyment of the film rests entirely on the shoulders of these chatty, personable, downright likable gents. Unflashy editing and deft, unprepossessing direction shapes, with Coogan and Brydon’s indelible influence, a charming on the road dramedy.

Winterbottom needed a little something extra to make it really special — a more powerful dramatic undercurrent, perhaps, or less repetition in the plot — but few people will watch the protags in The Trip and not want to sit down with them afterwards for a quaff and a chinwag.

The details: The Trip is in selected cinemas nationally.