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Betsy Sharkey's film pick of the week: 'The Trip'

June 16, 2011 |  7:45 am

Getprev British comic Steve Coogan affords us a great summer escape in “The Trip” –- all the pleasures and only a few of the pains of a classic road trip.

It all unfolds as Coogan and his frequent pranking partner, comic Rob Brydon, set out on a culinary adventure through rural Britain,  sampling  gourmet offerings at a handful of posh boutique hotels. In this faux documentary, Steve has been dispatched to write a piece on the trip for a foodie magazine. Meanwhile, Rob is a last-minute replacement to tag along after his girlfriend bailed. So it's a rocky road they're on from the very beginning

Directed by Michael Winterbottom, the two actors reprise the ironic artistic pair at the center of “Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story,” which played with the notion of an actor’s ever-inflating and deflating ego to great comic effect.

Whether it’s the fact that the film is mostly improvisation or due to the many collaborations between the director and the actors ("Shandy" being just one of them), “The Trip” feels effortless.

Between their rambling philosophical musings about the food, the nature of life and who got the better room, Steve and Rob's travels and squabbles are great fun to watch. And you don’t have to worry about traffic or the price of gas, though you might consider making a dinner reservation for after.

-- Betsy Sharkey

Caption: Above Rob Brydon, left, and Steve Coogan sample the foodie fare along the rocky road director Michael Winterbottom's planned for them in "The Trip." Credit: Phil Fisk/IFC Films

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