THE TRIP TO GREECE: A Delicious Finale

It’s been nearly a decade since Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon graced the screen in the first The Trip film. Set in the rolling moors of England, with Coogan and Brydon playing semi-fictionalized versions of themselves as they sampled culinary delights of the area and exchanged witty banter, the film was an unexpected delight and was followed by two other “Trips” to Italy in 2014, and Spain in 2017. Now the series has come to an alleged close with a final stop in Greece. Coogan and Brydon take off to the sunny European coast and traverse across land and water while butting heads with much humor and wit.

A Familiar Taste

Part of what has garnered The Trip series such a faithful audience is that it delivers exactly what it promises  — humorously sardonic dialogue, celebrity impressions, beautiful scenery, and equally gorgeous food. It’s a tried and true formula that finds organicity onscreen through Coogan and Brydon‘s repartee and feels comfortingly familiar rather than tired. The Trip To Greece is no different than its predecessors — Coogan has yet another large film role to boast about before Brydon (this time its Stan and Ollie) and the Sean Connery and Tom Hardy impressions are just as funny as they were the first time. The two men riff off each other wonderfully in such a careless manner that it makes you question just how much of the dialogue they’re spouting is truly acting.

THE TRIP TO GREECE: A Delicious Finale
source: IFC Films

Setting it apart, however, is its own culturally relevant framing (there are also a few well-timed quips about Coogan playing Hades in the first Percy Jackson film). Where the Trip To Spain echoed the story of Don Quixote, The Trip to Greece alludes to the Odyssey, with Coogan and Brydon tracing the steps of Odysseus in the famed Homer epic. It’s a fitting close, considering the Odyssean nature of the series itself, and a major part of what lends this final installment a unique earnestness.

Humor Masking Sadness

Despite what its riotous impressions and dialogue would initially indicate, it would be reductive to dismiss The Trip series as merely a low-key comedy and ignore the somberness that has always pierced through it. Coogan‘s starry Hollywood life and Brydon‘s homely roots have their own distinct struggles — previously Coogan has struggled with girlfriends, and Brydon himself engaged in a brief affair — but both of them tussle over fame primarily. A sequence in this film, with Coogan‘s girlfriend and manager present, shows them alternating in Mick Jagger impressions in an unspoken competition to see who can elicit the most laughs, and, as is always at the core of their dueling, inflate their ego the most. In weaker moments, this competition feels overstated and the egos of the two men feel almost unbearably enormous, but this is rarely the case.

THE TRIP TO GREECE: A Delicious Finale
source: IFC Films

The series has long emphasized the divide between Coogan and Brydon and their respective positions in life, but it feels stronger than ever in this final installment: Coogan, the Hollywood star, and Brydon, the family man, and bearer of lesser fame. This dichotomy, as well as their general old age, has been a ripe topic for jokes throughout the entire series but its weight is particularly affecting here — Brydon has settled down, seemingly satiated by his family life to not seek enormous fame, but Coogan has practically no one; jumping from girlfriend to girlfriend and swallowed up by Hollywood’s maw. Each night as Brydon video-chats his daughter from his hotel room, Coogan is right next door alone. As much as the latter boasts of properties and new film roles, he’s still undeniably lonely, and these brief trips with Brydon seem to be the only flashes of genuine companionship and reliability his life affords him. Tease and taunt at each other they might, but each man undeniably values the other’s company.

Conclusion: The Trip to Greece

The final installment of the wonderfully light The Trip series has the same offerings fans can expect, with a fresh setting, new array of food, and abundance of impressions. The organic chemistry between its leads and its deft balance of melancholy with humor render it a success and a perfect closing feature for a pitch-perfect series.

The Trip to Greece was released on digital on May 22, 2020, and is available on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play.

What did you think of the final installment? Let us know in the comments below!

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