“The Trip to Spain” was directed by Michael Winterbottom and is based on a BBC series in which British actors Coogan and Rob Brydon travel through England (“The Trip,” 2010), Italy (“The Trip to Italy,” 2014) and now Spain. Rating: 3 stars out of 4.
At one point in “The Trip to Spain,” Rob Brydon, at a restaurant table in Spain, imitates Mick Jagger imitating Rob Brydon imitating Michael Caine. (I’ll pause for you to catch up with that sentence. All good now?) And then Steve Coogan jumps in, imitating Brydon imitating Jagger imitating Brydon imitating Caine, throwing in a head-jerking, peacocky move and a puffed-out penguin chest and a weird little airborne clap, and all you can think is, a) yes, that is exactly what Mick Jagger sounds like, and b) I wish I were at that table.
That’s the pleasure of the uneven but enjoyable “Trip” movies, of which this is the third installment: For better or worse, it’s almost like being at that table. Directed by Michael Winterbottom (“In This World,” “Tristram Shandy,” “A Mighty Heart”), this trio is perhaps filmdom’s oddest franchise: It’s based on a BBC series in which British actors Brydon and Coogan — playing characters who happen to be British actors named Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan — travel through England (“The Trip,” 2010), Italy (“The Trip to Italy,” 2014) and now Spain; they dine in lovely restaurants, stay in beautiful hotels and, mostly, sit around doing impressions between bites.
Movie Review ★★★
‘The Trip to Spain,’ with Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon. Directed by Michael Winterbottom. 108 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences (contains strong language). SIFF Cinema Uptown.
If this sounds like a rather weak hook to hang an entire movie on, well, I won’t argue: The “Trip” movies, like the anchovies Coogan and Brydon happily devour, aren’t to everyone’s taste. This installment, despite a fair bit of bittersweet musing about middle age (noting that they are now ripe fruit, one wonders “Is it better to be plucked, or to drop?”) and some amusing allusions to “Don Quixote,” is as plotless as ever, and the cooking/food shots still seem like outtakes from a promotional travel video. (This leaves much time for pondering the fact that the older Brydon gets, the more he looks and sounds like Hugh Grant. Could Grant please join them for the next outing?)
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But oh, those impressions, which this time include Brando, John Hurt, Ian McKellen, Bogart, Woody Allen, Anthony Hopkins and a truly fabulous “Stones doing Shakespeare” bit, in case you’ve ever wondered what Mick Jagger’s Hamlet might sound like. I hadn’t; turns out, I was missing something.