Coogan, Brydon pack more comic delight in ‘Trip to Greece’

MOVIE REVIEW

“THE TRIP TO GREECE”

Not rated. On VOD platforms and on IFC website.

Grade: B+

The fourth and final iteration of actors Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s “The Trip” series of films, directed again by Michael Winterbottom, is almost as delightful as its predecessors, even if some of the tricks up its sleeves are a bit monotonous. Thankfully, there is also humor in monotony, which as it turns out is a Greek word, although not as some believe the name of one of the nine muses of Greek mythology.

In this installment, our intrepid travelers are once again on a voyage, this time it is literature’s archetypal trek, the journey of Odysseus returning from ancient Troy, which is in modern Turkey, to his island kingdom of Ithaca in Greece, where he is king and his queen Penelope has been busy keeping suitors at bay by weaving a tapestry she un-weaves each night.

  • Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan in Michael Winterbottom’s THE TRIP TO GREECE. An IFC Films Release. Courtesy of IFC Films.

  • Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon in Michael Winterbottom’s THE TRIP TO GREECE. An IFC Films Release. Courtesy of IFC Films.

  • Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon in Michael Winterbottom’s THE TRIP TO GREECE. An IFC Films Release. Courtesy of IFC Films.

  • Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon in Michael Winterbottom’s THE TRIP TO GREECE. An IFC Films Release. Courtesy of IFC Films.

Odysseus’ journey took 10 years. Coogan and Brydon’s retracing of the path 10 days with stops, as usual, for marvelous food and drink, posh hotel rooms with spectacular views, verbal jousts between Coogan and Brydon, whose fondness for the greatest actors in film history is undimmed and just as entertaining as it ever was. We also get physical contests, in this case a swimming race.

Brydon refers to Aristotle as Harry-stotle in a lame “Harry Potter” riff. When Brydon refers to Coogan as a “British comic,” Coogan corrects him, pulling out his credentials as “actor-writer-producer.” Coogan points out that the most famous poet in ancient Greece was Sappho of Lesbos, who was a woman and a lesbian.

For his part, Brydon sings the theme song of “Grease” in the Range Rover Coogan insists on driving. Coogan tries to explain that the words Greece and grease are “homophones” and have no other connection. Brydon reminds Coogan that Greece is nevertheless “the word” and “the time,” “the place” and “the motion.”

Both men phone home in the evenings, Brydon to speak to his 9-year-old daughter and his wife, Coogan to exchange pleasantries with his grown son and to keep track of his ailing father.

You’ll hear how the Oracle at Delphi received her prophecies while blowing smoke. Herakles killed his wife and children and yet has not been “canceled” by woke culture, Coogan reminds us. You’ll hear how Dustin Hoffman sounded in “Midnight Cowboy,” “Tootsie” and, of course, “Rain Man.”

Also as usual, Coogan is the preening egotist, who can’t help reminding others of his achievements, which are impressive. He was nominated for two Academy Awards for “Philomena,” which he co-wrote. He has won five BAFTAs and was nominated for a BAFTA best actor prize for “Stan & Ollie.”

Brydon, who is shorter than Coogan, cuts a less imposing figure, awards-wise. But his impression of a man in a box in his mouth remains a showstopper. “The Trip” films are a strange hybrid of documentary and feature film. Coogan and Brydon play themselves more or less. Rebecca Johnson returns as Brydon’s wife Sally. Richard Clews plays Coogan’s dad. Marta Barrio, who plays Coogan’s girlfriend Yolanda, returns from “The Trip to Italy.” But her relationship with Steve seems to dry up.

Coogan and Brydon exchange “Godfather” -style Brando impressions. Later, in another restaurant riffing on the origin of “marathon,” Coogan does Laurence Oliver in “Marathon Man” while Brydon imitates the sound of the dentist’s drill. If you’re a fan of travel shows and showbiz, you’re in heaven.

(“The Trip to Greece” mature themes in addition to silliness.)

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