By Jordan Magrath
Movie Mash-Up: “In The Loop” & “Sideways”
Following up from their performance in Michael Winterbottom’s “A Cock and Bull Story,” fictionalized versions of Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon take on Northern England to check out some of the best foods. Along their tour, the two former colleagues bicker and laugh, as the simple food tour turns into a much more interesting concept.
The narrative serves as a clever, and genuine, way to show two men at the peak of their midlife crisis.
“The Trip,” is powered equally by two different components. These aspects are what make the film truly fun to watch. The first being the narrative itself. Without a credited writer, it is tough to argue that the film is scripted at all. It certainly doesn’t feel scripted, from the conversations to the impressions to the dialogue, everything seems real. More importantly, it feels fresh.
Secondly, the characters themselves make the film truly remarkable. We understand that these two men are playing themselves, in a sense, but we also realize that they are playing dramatized versions, too. In other words, they are acting. They aren’t “themselves,” but it is easy for us to believe that this is who they actually are. The more likable character, Rob, has a somewhat dry sense of humor that we can all of connect with. His impressions are spot-on, and painfully hilarious. On the other side is almost the antithesis of Rob, Steven Coogan. Although they are longtime friends, they have very different outlooks on life. Steve is a pompous dick, but just funny enough for us to still enjoy. He’s a jerk, yes, but he shows parts of himself that make us want to like him.
The two main characters are a good juxtaposition between the person we all want to be, and the person we sometimes turn out to be. This can all be summed up when Steve simply says (to Rob): “I’d rather be me than you.” When the movie begins, most of the audience would agree with this statement. But, by the end, almost everyone watching would disagree with that simple statement. We’d all much rather be the fun-loving and optimistic Rob Brydon, then the more successful, but unhappy, Steve Coogan.
When I connected to this part, I knew this movie was special. It didn’t cram a message down my throat. It didn’t rely on cliche moments (except possibly one) in order to explicitly draw a conclusion. The moral is subtle, but funny and emotional simultaneously. This is something comedies usually struggle with.
My only wish was that I could’ve understood more of the jokes being told. This isn’t the film’s fault in the least, it is mine for not being cultured enough in understanding some of the references. It was easy to pick out mainstream pop culture references, but I wish some of the impressions hadn’t flown right over my head. That is not a bash on the film. In fact, the film’s core doesn’t really need the jokes to make it a solid film. It just makes it more funny.
In the end, you’ll laugh just as much as you’ll think, which is saying something remarkable.