The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

My tripping over The Trip

with 13 comments

The cover said that The Trip would be a film about two actors are making a tour around UK, having dinners at various restaurants and talking to each other, “in the spirit of Curb Your Enthusiasm”.

It also provided a bunch of quotes from respectable resources, who all had given it 4/5 and assured it was incredibly funny.

It sure worked on me, so guess I have to give the marketers some cred for it. I rented the movie on the spot as soon as I laid my eyes on it and I brought it home in triumph, so certain was I that that this would be a success. Curb Your Enthusiasm is painfully funny. And British humor has always been top notch. We’re talking about a country that has produced series such as Monty Python, Faulty Towers and The Office. What could possibly go wrong? This film was going to make sure that our Easter at least had a couple of hours of pure laughter and entertainment. The question was just if we safely could eat our Easter candy while watching it or if we’d risk choking due laughing too hard.

We needn’t have worried, to put it mildly. I didn’t laugh a single time. I didn’t giggle. Frankly I barely even smiled. I was bored beyond belief by the conversations of those two men. I could see that they were TRYING hard to be funny; the problem was that it felt contrived. There were moments where I could spot something that resembled a little bit to moments of embarrassment in Larry or in The Office, moments where Steve Coogan’s big ego was in the center. I saw glimpses of it, what they were going for, but they didn’t pull it off. It just wasn’t funny. At we didn’t think so.

And I’ve been thinking and thinking about why it came that it missed the target so much. The only explanation I can come up with is that I’m probably missing out a lot in the reference department. Maybe there were a lot of hidden undermeanings, which those who are more familiar with the previous works of Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon picked up? Maybe there were some pop culture references we didn’t get (apart from the imitations of other actors, which unfortunately they left me cold. Are imitations really that funny in the first place?)

I can’t remember last time I looked so many times at my watch while watching a movie. For its 1 hour 47 minutes it seemed to last forever. Towards the end we were as good as counting down as if we were waiting for the New Year. “10, 9, 8….”. The biggest joy we got out of The Trip was the sigh of relief when it was over. The thought about how many good Curb your Enthusiasm episodes we had to rewatch made us smile.

On the bright side: I have a reputation for being too kind, giving a 4/5 grade to every single movie I watch.  Hopefully this review will prove that this is not the case. I too do mistakes in my movie picking from time to time. Like in the case of this one.

The Trip (Michael Winterbottom, UK, 2010) My rating: 1,5/5

Written by Jessica

April 11, 2012 at 1:00 am

Posted in The Trip, Uncategorized

13 Responses

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  1. From the descriptions it sounds like this is a television show edited down into a movie. Maybe that is where the problem comes from. Can’t recall a time I’ve ever seen that trick work.


    April 11, 2012 at 2:22 am

    • Yes, as far as I understand it that is what it is. But I suppose they want it to work on its own. I mean, those who have seen the original hardly can be interested to watch the same again but shorter?


      April 11, 2012 at 7:06 am

  2. I remember seeing one of the episodes on TV, completely by accident, and I think I have the same feeling as you. It was just a bit flat. I don’t know so much about Rob Brydon, but Steve Coogan can be absolutely hilarious (Steve Coogan/ Alan Partridge). I think perhaps the trouble was, as you say, that it was scripted to be spontaneous (if that makes sense?), and it just didn’t work. I’m glad you like our British humour (you forgot to mention Blackadder, the greatest ever comedy IMHO), but I agree that this just didn’t work. I think you’re very brave sitting through 1 hour 47 minutes of it!

    Russell Betney

    April 11, 2012 at 9:29 am

    • Oh Blackadder, definitely! I’m generally not a huge fan of physical humor but there’s something about Rowan Atkinson that just works for me. I even like Mr Bean, which is so odd for being me.

      It happens very rarely, if ever, that I don’t finish a movie that I’ve started to watch. Basically it takes that it’s broken (scratched DVD from the library.) But this was a bit of a pain. I felt bad for being the one to rent it.


      April 11, 2012 at 9:47 am

  3. I don’t know what I love about this film. Perhaps it’s the spontaneity. Perhaps it’s the improvisation. Who knows? I can’t help it, but I find it funny. I can understand why you don’t like it, and I agree in the sense that the dialogue doesn’t have the richness of a script written by someone like David Mamet or Quentin Tarantino. Some jokes are stretched out a bit too long and there are some moments that are just awkwardly unfunny in The Trip, but I just wasn’t bothered by that. I love Brydon and Coogan and The Trip made me laugh a few times, which was good enough for me. I was actually rolling on the floor laughing during the Michael Caine impression scene (“You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!”), so for me the film has a charm I just cannot resist.

    But no, it’s not a perfect film and I realize that some people will be bored by it, and that’s cool. I feel a bit awkward being the first commenter on this post to actually like the film, but I just had to speak up.


    April 12, 2012 at 1:43 am

    • Nothing wrong about liking a film and you explain very well why you’re doing so. I really wish I had liked it, but you really can’t be pursuaded into thinking something is funny. It’s a reaction, as being ticklish or not. Not controllable. As I said: I might be missing out some references. That can be a part of it.


      April 12, 2012 at 7:37 am

  4. The original TV Show was about two guys touring the finest restaurants and revieweing the food, doesn’t sound like that angle’s been left in the film, which would mean that a lot had been cut out?

    Paragraph Film Reviews

    April 12, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    • Well, they ARE dining at fine restaurants and we see some gourmet dishes being finalized but I have to assume they’ve had to cut out a lot. There’s an awful lot of talking about other actors, impersonations etc now. Not particularly funny though.


      April 12, 2012 at 2:24 pm

  5. “I didn’t laugh a single time. I didn’t giggle”. Well me neither but i sat with a smile on my lips during the whole tv-series. Kind of cosy, slightly embarrasing and relaxing serie to watch.
    But I can understand if one doesn´t like it. I


    April 12, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    • They’ve shown the series on Swedish TV? I must have missed that. But then again I watch so little on TV. The TV series I watch, I buy in boxes, watching them quite a while after everone else…


      April 12, 2012 at 2:54 pm

      • Yes it was on tv a couple of months ago. Agree that boxes are the best way to watch tv-series.


        April 12, 2012 at 2:57 pm

  6. Made my top 15 films of 2011, so looks like we completely disagree. Sometimes comedy does that. For those hoping to learn about culture or food on their journey I would admit there is not much to get your teeth into. And Coogan is fairly unlikeable during the film.But the impressions these guys do of celebrities are hilarious in my opinion ( :


    April 13, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    • It might be that I haven’t watched those celebrities enough to be able to fully enjoy the impressions.


      April 14, 2012 at 12:25 am

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