Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Ten Best Films of 2017: #8

August brought a gift to moviegoers in the form of "The Trip to Spain," the third installment of the "Trip" franchise that is itself a gift that keeps on giving. Director Michael Winterbottom again reunites Steve Coogan and the otherworldly talented Rob Brydon (and that hauntingly beautiful music Michael Nyman wrote for "Wonderland') for a restaurant-review tour marked by hilarious bickering, dueling celebrity impersonations, and critiques of said impersonations. And when I say hilarious, I mean that I wiped tears of laughter out of my eyes regularly throughout the two-hour runtime that provides exceptional value for money. Coogan and Brydon exhibit a fair bit more self-awareness (of their status on the entertainment totem pole, of the passage of time) in this picture, imbuing it with a greater poignancy. The comedy also feels more unrestrained than ever, finding its clearest expression in an ambiguous ending that seems to thumb its nose at the audience and ask "Why the hell not?" A box set of the "Trip" trilogy would make a marvelous gift for anyone who loves to laugh.

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