• Trip To Spain, The

    Released by: Shout! Factory
    Released on: December 12, 2017
    Director: Michael Winterbottom
    Cast: Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon, Rebecca Johnson, Claire Keelan, Marta Barrio, Margo Stilley, Kyle Soller, Justin Edwards, Kerry Shale, Tom Clegg, Tim Leach
    Year: 2017
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    The Movie:

    First there was The Trip. Then came The Trip to Italy. Now, British comedic dynamos Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon reteam with Michael Winterbottom, the acclaimed filmmaker who first directed them in the underrated literature-meets-Hollywood farce Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story, for their latest witty adventure in search of fine food, finer wine, and a little meaning to this thing called life. Behold, The Trip to Spain.

    Each film in the series was edited down from a six-episode season of the BBC show The Trip, with Coogan and Brydon playing fictionalized versions of themselves who are often commissioned to take restaurants tours and write about their observations for some publication. Despite being the bigger name in the entertainment industry of the two, Coogan is typically portrayed experiencing a career slump, while the lesser-known Brydon, content with his wife and children back in London, scores surprising professional successes. It’s a priceless running gag that began in Tristram Shandy and continues to yield hilarious results.

    His career progress beginning to stall, Steve decides to recreate a backpacking trip he took through Spain in his younger years and calls up his old friend Rob (his own career seemingly spinning its wheels, compounded by the stress and boredom of being a family man) to join in the impromptu expedition. By boat and by car, our intrepid duo travels from town to town, enjoying the finest wine and cuisine each of their best restaurants has to offer, riffing off each other with their best celebrity impressions (just wait until you see Rob doing Monty Python’s classic “Spanish Inquisition” sketch as Marlon Brando and Woody Allen), and converse about any subject that randomly crosses their minds.

    But it’s not all cuisine and comedy for Steve and Rob on their latest extended holiday abroad. Both men are forced to confront the gradual, unforgiving encroachment of old age and the effect it’s having on their respective careers and morale. Steve is trying to sell a script he penned, only to find out that his agent Matt (Kerry Shale) is dumping him as a client and the only interested studio wants the script rewritten by the latest untested hotshot flavor of the month scribe to rewrite. On top of that, he’s undecided as to whether or not he wants to romantically pursue a married woman and his 20-year-old son Jonathan (Kyle Soller) announces during a Skype call that his girlfriend is pregnant. Meanwhile, Rob unexpectedly receives a phone call from Matt, who wants to make him “the next Ricky Gervais”.

    The chemistry generated between Coogan and Brydon has always come off as unforced and authentic, making their improvised conversations flow naturally and often in surprising directions, and Winterbottom is wise to just let them sit down at a table decorated with delicious dishes and glasses of exquisite wine and let them go. Even when we get the occasional hint that one is starting to grate the other’s nerves slightly, it’s plain that these two guys enjoy the pleasure of each other’s company and the wide-ranging talks they have. Whether the subject is relationships, aging, religion, career choices, and the stagnation of life, Coogan and Brydon can talk a blue streak about it and never tire themselves or us out in the process.


    Shout! Factory presents The Trip to Spain on Blu-ray in a 1080p high-definition transfer that is framed in its original 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio. The film was shot digitally by James Clarke and the most important visual elements stand out with clarity and detail, if not much depth. The image is lifelike but sports a moderate amount of grain to avoid an overly clean appearance. Colors are warm and vibrant, while black levels display solid visibility.

    Shout! has provided the crisp transfer with a strong lossless English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that gives the plentiful dialogue and music much room in the mix to spread out and integrate during public conversation scenes. English subtitles have also been provided.

    The only extra features are the original theatrical trailer for The Trip to Spain (2 minutes) and upfront previews for Band Aid and Wakefield.

    The Final Word:

    Compared to the other two films in the series, The Trip to Spain offers no deviations from the trusted established formula (apart from an unusual finale), but its offering of warmth, satire, interplay, and philosophy is a four-course buffet of comfort food that never fails to satisfy. The brilliant teaming of Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon is the best part though, and the third (and possibly final, but we’ll see) entry in Michael Winterbottom’s comic travelogue is bound to impress and entertain on this new Blu-ray from Shout! Factory, despite the lack of supplements. There had to be some deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes footage, right? Regardless, this disc gets my recommendation.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!