The Trip

Rated 4.0

Ends tonight, Aug. 18. British comedy stars Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon were featured in Michael Winterbottom’s Tristram Shandy: A Cock and a Bull Story (2005), an inventively facetious comedy-drama about the foredoomed attempt to make a film version of Laurence Sterne’s wildly unconventional classic novel from the 18th century. And now Winterbottom has paired them again in a whimsical road-movie farce in which they play fictionalized versions of themselves doing temporary work as food critics on a week’s tour through rural England. Tristram Shandy is a very long novel famous for its playful digressions and detours away from what the title character’s life story. And The Trip proceeds in a Shandean spirit of its own—Coogan and Brydon make their appointed rounds and have some amusing gustatory experiences in assorted provincial restaurants, but the main fun comes from their witty verbal sparring and other diversions in the spaces between meals. The biggest laughs come with their dueling impressions of various British actors, and the most flavorsome sequences occur not with food but in some quietly astonishing views of verdant English countryside. Several intriguing females and some charming homages to Wordsworth and Coleridge make it into the mix as well. Pageant Theatre. Not rated