THE TRIP TO GREECE (2020)
Starring Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon, Marta Barrio, Rebecca Johnson, Cordelia Bugeja, Richard Clews, Justin Edwards, Kareem Alkabbani, Claire Keelan, Justin Edwards, Timothy Leach, Michael Towns, Tessa Walker and Harry Tayler.
Screenplay by Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon.
Directed by Michael Winterbottom.
Distributed by IFC Films. 110 minutes. Not Rated.
Well, after about a decade and four countries, it seems that the trip is ending. And, just perhaps, it is time.
The Trip to Greece is the fourth film in the series, in which British comic actors Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon play fictionalized versions of themselves, two smart and pithy men who are trying to riff and one-up each other while visiting some of the most beautiful landmarks and finest eateries in Europe.
The American Trip movies are edited versions of British TV series by the same name. The Trip – which took place in Northern England – started things out in 2010, followed by The Trip to Italy in 2014, The Trip to Spain in 2016 and now The Trip to Greece.
Word is this will be the final voyage – and though I’m disappointed that they didn’t take my request for The Trip to France in my review of the last film, I feel this is probably a good place to bow out. It’s always good to leave on a relatively high note.
And The Trip to Greece is a step back from the freneticism of The Trip to Spain. That film had a bit of a desperate feel – it was funny, but the guys were working so hard to get a laugh that it overpowered the gorgeous scenery and the stunning cuisine. (Though, as a non-gourmand, I have always found the food porn aspects of the series to be the least interesting parts.)
The Trip to Greece is more circumspect. The guys are still trying to out-gag each other, but it is much more reigned in. (No more multiple Jagger imitations like in The Trip to Spain.)
The Trip to Greece is more philosophical, both as a quest (they decide to follow the trail Ulysses took in The Odyssey) and as personal histories (one of the guys has to leave the trip early due to a family emergency). The movie opens and closes with a soliloquy. Even the tourism is muted a bit, while you see lots of lovely scenery, this go-around avoids the obvious tourist traps and mostly focuses on gorgeous beach and small-town scenery.
Yet, sad to say, the film also feels a little tired, and just a little dull. Despite the above-mentioned changes – or perhaps because of them – the whole idea for the series feels a little worn out.
At least the film series is self-aware enough to have fun with this, such as this below exchange which happens early on.
“I do think as you get older, it’s inevitable, you repeat yourself. This is the fourth time we’ve been on one of these jaunts,” Brydon says.
“Originality is overrated. Everything is repeated,” Coogan agrees.
It’s just bad timing that The Trip to Greece is coming out in the middle of a global pandemic, at a time where most of the restaurants and attractions shown are closed. The kind of breezy tourism that these films celebrate is just a wistful memory in the world for now. Some people may view the film simply because it is a memory of a (recent) happier, more innocent time. Others will avoid it, for much the same reason.
So, for now at least, The Trip is over. Perhaps it was inevitable; even though the series’ close was announced before the current world order, in a post-coronavirus world this kind of film feels unnecessary and indulgent, and quite possibly impossible to pull off. However, if the guys ever do decide to revisit this series in the future, once things get back to [relative] normal, I reiterate my request – The Trip to France.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2020 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: May 22, 2020.