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TRIP TO SPAIN, THE

SYNOPSIS: Rob and Steve are back on the road for another series of restaurant reviews. Six meals in different places on a road-trip through Spain visiting Cantabria, the Basque region, Aragon, Rioja, Castile La Mancha and Andalucia. Meanwhile Rob's wife and two young children are at home in London and Steve is keen to get back together with his ex-girlfriend Mischa, but there is a snag: she is now with another man.

Review by Louise Keller:
The recipe is still the same: scrumptious food, gorgeous Spanish scenery and the improvised wordplay that ricochets between Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. If you enjoyed The Trip (2010) and its 2014 sequel The Trip to Italy, you will surely enjoy this interlude, although the film does not sparkle quite as brightly - or feel as fresh - as the Italian sojourn. But it's a comfortable trip - it feels as though we are reunited with old friends as Coogan and Brydon reassume their easy, combative relationship replete with quirky humour as they chatter nonstop about topics that range from the sublime to the ridiculous, punctuated by movie star impressions and other madness.

It's a tried and true formula - a mash up of the buddy movie genre in a road trip context with gastronomy and stunning locations thrown in for good measure. As they traverse the Spanish countryside, the men talk movies, history, music, religion, dinosaurs, small feet, death, twitter, acting - and of course food. The food is unpretentious and will make you salivate, from the grilled sardines, chorizo like Grandma used to make to the mussels with carrot juice, shrimps, bass cooked in salt and roasted capsicum. All served with wine, of course.

I laughed at the David Bowie impressions and Coogan is hilarious emulating Mick Jagger: it's all about the peacock stance and the lips. It's the ridiculous nature of it all that is so entertaining. We hear from Richard Burton, Roger Moore, Laurence Olivier, Anthony Hopkins, Robert DeNiro, Humphrey Bogart and Sean Connery, the latter recounting an anecdote (as Bond) involving a panther, a bulldog and an itchy anus. The mind boggles. Brydon is especially good. But we have heard some of these before...

Director Michael Winterbottom has included a few more external elements this time - to the film's detriment. These include the problematic relationship between Coogan and his married girlfriend, his grown up son, his agent and Brydon's young family. Then tend to pluck us out of the reality established in Spain. As for the ending, it feels as though ideas were in short supply. I like the use of music and the inclusion of Satchmo's rendition of A Foggy Day in London Town and Michel LeGrand's Windmills of Your Mind work nicely.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

TRIP TO SPAIN, THE (M)
(UK, 2017)

CAST: Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon, Marta Barrio, Claire Keelan

PRODUCER: Josh Hyams, Stefano Negri, Melissa Parmenter

DIRECTOR: Michael Winterbottom

SCRIPT: Michael Winterbottom

CINEMATOGRAPHER: James Clarke

EDITOR: Mags Arnold, Paul Monaghan, Marc Richardson

MUSIC: Not credited

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Daniel Draper

RUNNING TIME: 115 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Madman

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 3, 2017






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