TRIP TO GREECE, THE
(director: Michael Winterbottom; cinematographer: James Clarke; editor: Marc Richardson; cast: Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon, Claire Keelan (Emma), Rebecca Johnson (Sally), Marta Barrio (Yolanda), Kareem Alkabbani (Kareem); Runtime: 112; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Melissa Parmenter, Josh Hyams; IFC Films; 2020-UK)
“A good tourist trip film.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
This is the fourth and final jokey fictionalized trip film from Brit filmmaker Michael Winterbottom (“Greed”/”The Wedding Guest “), which like the others has been edited from a season television series and like the others the men are on a writing assignment about the trip from The Observer.
It’s a good tourist trip film (better than the similar themed Hope & Crosby road films) of male bonding and pissing on everything. It repeats itself by using the same type of content (this time covering Greece’s sights, restaurants and rich history, while again the men are dissing each other with their casual banter). The wise guy Brit comedian actors, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, are bosom travel companions, playing true enough versions of themselves to seem authentic. At one classy eating spot, over a delicious looking lamb dish, they mockingly quip “Originality is overrated. Everything’s derivative.” After that aside, you can either check out or join them in their quest for a fun holiday, and lightly take in their loose and irreverent comments on all things pertaining to Greece. You also hear about their growing melancholia that comes with aging and being neurotic, and feeling blue that this is their last film trip in the series. It’s also brought about when Steve learns his dad is in the hospital.
Maybe I valued this version more than I did the others because travel was not now a good option during the pandemic, and that Greece was my favorite vacation spot.
Coogan does his Roger Moore impersonations for his Bond films. Brydon shows off his Richard Burton Welsh burr by reciting the opening lines of Homer’s epic, supposedly just like how the Welsh actor would have.
The boys are competitive, have spirited spats with each other and hunger for attention. The self-centered Coogan wants to be taken for a serious actor, while Brydon comes off as your amiable everyday bloke trying to get a laugh in whenever he can.
The trip brings us Greece’s stunning scenic views and travel hosts who are funny dudes.
The trip agenda has the men roughly following the path Ulysses took in The Odyssey. Their trip starts in Turkey at the site of the Trojan war (where the vistas are amazingly beautiful) and with them ending up in Ithaca. They will cover most of the ground in a posh SUV Coogan alone will drive on his insistence (he’s the take charge guy). They will also take the SUV onto ferries for some colorful crossings, as they reach such diverse spots as Lesbos, Athens and Delphi.
Even if the banter sometimes lags, as a travelogue the film never falters. It might not be the bourgeois way I would want to see Greece, but I nevertheless got a kick out of it.
REVIEWED ON 5/28/2020 GRADE: B