James Jay Edwards

The Trip to Greece Is Dad Jokes, Bad Impressions, and Food Porn … and Nothing Else

(The Trip to Greece, IFC Films)

James Jay Edwards reviews The Trip to Greece, the latest installment in The Trip series, with Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan, and directed by Michael Winterbottom.

 

Since 2010, British actors Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan have, along with director Michael Winterbottom, been toiling their way through their restaurant-tour comedy television show The Trip. Over the years, it’s even spawned three movies – the simply titled The Trip, The Trip to Italy, and The Trip to Spain. And now, the series completes with The Trip to Greece.

The Trip to Greece follows Brydon and Coogan around Greece as they dine in restaurants and chat. And chat and dine in restaurants. And that’s pretty much all there is to the movie. Rob and Steve drive and eat their way through Greece. They pretend they’re following the journey of Odysseus, but they’re really just there for the food.

 

(The Trip to Greece, theatrical release poster, IFC Films)

There are a few shallow attempts at a plot, mostly regarding the guys’ families back home, but most of the movie is spent with the audience waiting for something – anything – to happen. And for the most part, nothing does. There’s no drama, no conflict, no intrigue. Just a lot of meals and dialogue.

Which is sort of what fans of The Trip and its subsequent movies expect. The conversations are interrupted mid-meal by carefully placed preparation shots of the scrumptious food, and what is brought to the table is usually explained to the diners by the server. So, there’s a food porn aspect to the movie. If only Brydon and Coogan would shut up long enough for the viewer to enjoy it.

 

(The Trip to Greece, IFC Films)

For what it’s worth, Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan do have chemistry. Years of friendship coupled with their working relationship have cultivated a comfort factor between the two personalities, and they seem to have a genuine affection for each other. That chemistry does not transfer over to the audience, though. They amuse themselves much more than they amuse anyone else. They crack each other up while the rest of the restaurant ignores the inside jokes and wacky impressions. And the viewer relates more to the other diners than they do to the leads. They’re not in on the joke.

Occasionally, the jokes will land, though. One particular occasion comes when Rob and Steve are talking about CPR and how chest compressions should be done at 120 beats-per-minute, which is the tempo of any good disco song. The words to “Stayin’ Alive” are then changed to “ah, ah, ah, ah, Steve’s gonna die! Steve’s gonna die!” Sure, it’s a Dad joke, but that’s all that The Trip to Greece has. Aside from bad impressions of Brando, Schwarzenegger, and The Honeymooners, it’s full of Dad jokes. Bad ones.

 

(The Trip to Greece, IFC Films)

A few years back, there was a movie in theaters called Land Ho! about a pair of elderly gentlemen who take a trip through Iceland. It was similar to The Trip to Greece, only without the food and with much more scenery. And it was much more effective because Iceland is a beautiful country. And Greece is stunning as well, but it’s hard to tell when all you see is the inside of restaurants. And with Land Ho!, the audience didn’t have to sit through endless blabbering about Heracles.

 

 

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