THE TRIP TO GREECE (Dir. by Michael Winterbottom, 103 minutes, USA, 2020]
BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC The Trip to Greece hit streaming this week, and with it brings an end to the decade-long run of the British sitcom/film franchise,The Trip.The show is a bit like if Curb Your Enthusiasm was made for the Food Network. The Trip to Greecestars comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, who play fictionalized versions of themselves bickering and riffing their way across various countries while sampling local delicacies. The first trip had Coogan taking a restaurant tour assignment from The Observer to impress a foodie girlfriend – only she left him and he invited Rob in her stead. Now on their fourth trip/season, like the three before it, after its televised run of six episodes, they are then edited together in a digest version of the season, that is released in theaters.
As the title indicates, this trip has Steve and Rob making their way across Greece as they retrace Odysseus’ journey on their final outing. As per usual, historical landmarks are visited, delicious food is eaten, and the two men comedically spar their way through a country one last time while stuffing their faces. The melodramatic bits for this installment are courtesy of Steve’s father who has fallen ill, while Rob appears to be having a bit of marital trouble, inviting his wife out to the final stop. The two men, now well past their primes, break with the comedy here and there to get a bit more introspective and contemplative on their lives and careers, adding some closure to the series.
I mean at this point you already know what you’re in for here, and Steve says it best when he says at the beginning of the film that “originality is overrated, everything is derivative.” That really sets the tone going forward, and to be honest that’s not such a bad thing for fans of the franchise. It’s the friendship and the chemistry here between the two men that keeps us coming back and the film is a proper sendoff with them going out on a high note for one last adventure. Personally, I am more of a fan when a show like this ends on its own terms rather than running out of steam. The Trip to Greece is a solid entry that knows just what it needs to do, while still leaving the door unlocked, you know just in case Steve and Rob ever want to come back and take a trip across the hinterlands of the US in five years. We can only hope.