The Trip to Spain (2017) reviewed by Jonathan Berk

Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s film series has been a lot of fun. Who would have thought watching two comedic actors – both versed to some degree with impressions – eating elegant meals would be so entertaining? That’s what makes it all the more impressive that director Michael Winterbottom and his two stars figured out this formula. The Trip to Spain (2017) is the third in the series, and is available to watch on Netflix.

The Trip to Spain may be the best of the three

Coogan and Brydon’s third entry follows a similar premise as the other films, with both men on assignment to review restaurants in a specific country for a The Observer. It’s enough to get them on the road and traveling through beautiful vistas and eating at high-end restaurants, trying multiple courses while simply talking about their lives. Of course, the comedy enters in as the two men begin doing bits or impressions, riffing on one another.

An interesting thing to note about the film is that there isn’t a writer credited – yet it’s clearly an exaggerated version of the two personalities we are presented with. It’s technically a mockumentary, featuring actual actors. They talk about movies and TV shows they’re actually in, but also things they aren’t into, or projects that don’t actually exist. There are other people featured in the other two films, such as Emma and Yolanda. However, each is a character played by Claire Keelan and Marta Barrio, respectively. The blending of reality and fiction gives a lot of opportunity for humor, and Coogan and Brydon succeed at making the audience crack up.

Coogan usually tolerates Brydon’s impressions, but there is an exchange in this film where Coogan can’t stop himself from laughing. It’s more impressive that he is able to play a straight man with Brydon spitting comedy gold time and time again. Not that Coogan doesn’t have his share of humor, but a lot of his is sarcastic and biting. The best moment has to be the joke about the tentative Nazi. It’s in the middle of the film, and is most certainly a stand-out comedic moment.

Final thoughts…

The Trip to Spain is simply a joy to watch. In fact, the whole trilogy has been extremely fun, and a generally happy experience. However, you will possibly end up hungry by the end of the film. If you are like me and unfamiliar with these two actors, you’re in for a treat, and the likely exploration of their other work. The Trip to Spain earns the Not Quite Golden, Ponyboy rating.

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