When reviewing Rob Brydon, Steve Coogan and Michael Winterbottom’s last gastronomic tour of Western Europe, in The Trip to Italy, I opined that the film’s attempts at dramatic subplots would have been “better left on the editing room floor.” Three years later, the trio’s travels to Spain’s most sumptuous restaurants suffers much the same problem.
By this stage, you know what to expect from the Trip films, and it’s here in abundance: cheesy puns, duelling impersonations, great food, glorious landscapes. For the most part, the writing (despite no credited screenwriters!) elevates the material by developing the friendly animosity between the two leads into something genuinely – if subtly – confrontational. You sense that jockeying for prominence between them that bleeds over into (or, perhaps, from) their professional and personal lives, and it lends the film stakes without the need for artificially inflated drama. The synergies with the frequent Don Quixote references don’t hurt, either.
Ah, but what were they thinking with the final act? While I understand the impulse to end on a deflated note, the specific choices made in the closing minutes are hugely misjudged, culminating in a jaw-droppingly stupid final moment. Charming on the whole, but a disappointing final dish.