Describe This Movie In One Simpsons Quote:
HOMER: Boy, the way the Bee Gees played...Brief Plot Synopsis: ... "plot?"
MARGE: Movies John Travolta made...
HOMER: Guessing how much Elvis weighed...
MARGE: Those were the days.
Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: 3.5 Danny Zukos out of 5.
Better Tagline: "A whole new dimension to living vicariously."
Not So Brief Plot Synopsis: As in the first three Trip movies, friends Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon travel to an exotic location (Greece), see the sights, eat, and talk. A lot.
"Critical" Analysis: You know what you're getting when you sit down to a Trip film. As conceived by director Michael Winterbottom, each movie follows fictionalized versions of Coogan and Brydon as they tour historic locales, sample sumptuous meals, do celebrity impersonations, and take the piss out of each other, as they say.
The Trip to Greece, the fourth and (possibly) final installment of these British TV series condensed into feature film length for ignorant Americans, takes on unintentional added poignancy, however. Some of this is baked in (a personal tragedy), some is coincidental, as we'll discuss in a moment.
Retracing the steps of Odysseus, from Troy to Ithaca, the pair exhibit more of the easy rapport and good-natured ribbing that's become the series trademark. The movie is also fairly matter-of-fact about the concept of two well-off white dudes traipsing about the Greek countryside.
Some of the movie's best moments come when when the pair are hastily forced to revert to normalcy, such as when a waiter interrupts Coogan's Casino-style take on Philip of Macedon's dialogues with Aristotle. Not to spoil things, but it's highly unlikely Philip II threatened to rip off Aristotle's head and shit down his neck.
How much you enjoy The Trip to Greece will depend a lot on your tolerance for things like the pair doing a Laurel and Hardy bit (referring to Coogan's turn as the former), only in this case it's Laurel and Tom Hardy, or Brydon impersonating Werner Herzog impersonating Arnold Schwarzenegger, or Coogan's exasperation with his friend's seeming ignorance of classical history.
All the Trip to movies have a kind of wistfulness about them, but this time around reality intrudes more than usual, in the form of the pair brushing up against the European refugee crisis and a death in the family. There's also an inescapable sense of melancholy — one Winterbottom and the others couldn't have fathomed — that comes from watching people engage in the casual act of traveling and dining out.
Because, as is the case in each of these films, there's breathtaking scenery and mouth-watering food. But watching The Trip to Greece in the midst of a global pandemic reminds us just how distant these formerly familiar activities still are. It's inadvertent, to be sure, but moving just the same.
The Trip to Greece is available to rent on Amazon Prime.