Steve Coogan Rob Brydon
As striking and lovely as the land- and seascapes are in this buddy movie, if you’ve seen The Trip to Italy and The Trip to Spain, you’ve seen The Trip to Greece. Despite it being a different country, there is little contrast between this and the earlier versions. This film has the same format as the other two, in which Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon take trips to exotic places, tooling around in boats and cars, kibitzing with one another along the way, having brief interactions with others, and dining in restaurants with fine cuisine (e.g., mussels with expresso powder dust) and breathtaking views.
Conversations range from take-offs on beloved characters in movies, referencing historical characters and facts about the country they’re in, and competing on who is better at…anything. They might take dips in the seas and join up with old acquaintances or current friends, and occasionally, we hear their conversations with loved ones at home.
The films are primarily improvisational, but real events in the actors’ lives are woven in. This one in particular shows significant events taking place at home, along with a reunion of husband and wife who are very much in love.
I enjoyed this version of the Coogan-Brydon trips less than the others, partly because of its repetition, but also because it seems more rushed. Writer-director Michael Winterbottom really made a mistake in showing only glimpses of the kitchen staffs preparing elegant dishes without going into detail about what they consist of and something about the people preparing them. They focus on one waitress who delights them, but that’s the extent of highlighting the people who serve them.
Just listening to Coogan and Brydon for such long stretches becomes tedious at best. We tire of them by the end of the film. Another issue is that many of the references they make in their impersonations of Hollywood figures and Greek historical figures are likely to go over the heads of most viewers. Most will be saying, “I don’t get it…”
With the rich history of the worlds explored and the movies discussed in these films, it is puzzling to see the lack of creativity and potential for humor that is missed.
Looking at a travelogue about Greece will be more exciting and informative than this film.