England, 2010, 100 min
Prolific British director Michael Winterbottom never ceases . . . to amaze. A restless whiz, heís frequently wandered from the predictable path with such mercurial marvels as Wonderland, 24 Hour Party People and The Killer Inside Me. But nothing has stymied expectation more than the miasmic masterpiece Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story, in which Winterbottom succumbs to the bottomless buffoonery of Laurence Sterneís proto-postmodern novel. That filmís stars, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, slip out of their costumed roles to play themselves in a riotously amusing rivalry for center stage. The Trip finds them reunited in an ecstatic extension of their spar-filled friendship. Now Coogan (as himself) is sent to the Lake Country on assignment as culinary critic for The Observer. When Cooganís girlfriend Misha (Margo Stilley) canít accompany him, he rings up rollicking Rob (accurately portrayed by Rob Brydon), and off they go to the great country inns of England. They have only a map in hand and their wits about them. Visiting a string of chichi restaurants, the duo practically ignore the ornamental concoctions theyíve been served in favor of slipping into celebrity impersonations of Anthony Hopkins, Michael Caine and Al Pacino, to name a few. One stirring bout has them trading impressions of Sean Connery ordering martinis until you canít hold your own cocktail steady. Steve and Robís Brit bromance is seasoned sweet and sour in its ribbing rivalries. But like a foodie version of Sideways, The Trip trades dry vintage for a full belly laugh.
Special support for this program generously provided by Susie and Pat McBaine, and by Jennifer and Doug Biederbeck. Presented in association with Mostly British Film Festival.