PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The first one was composed of talking and eating.
The second one was composed of…talking and eating.
And the third one is composed of – you guessed it – talking and eating.
So 2010’s The Trip, 2014’s The Trip to Italy and, now, The Trip to Spain have all treated talking and eating as a spectator sport.
And if that sounds like a complaint or a criticism, it’s not.
Because all three movies are casually but decidedly entertaining.
Why? Because the talk in this minimalist road-trip comedy is witty and the food looks scrumptious.
British director Michael Winterbottom returns to the wine-and-dine franchise for a third time as Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon take their vaudeville act on the road, following up their excursions to fine-dining establishments of the British countryside and then Italy with a journey through Spain.
Once again, the two improvising leads are playing fictionalized versions of themselves, competing playfully but willfully in every way imaginable – including their irresistible dueling celebrity impressions of the likes of Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Mick Jagger, and others – as they discuss their various show-biz troubles and triumphs while discovering new ways to one-up each other.
Meanwhile, they move through this handsome travelogue displaying the elusive art of conversation while being served mouth-watering meals that are shown but hardly discussed.
Let’s put it this way: don’t go on an empty stomach.
For some viewers or fans, this third go-round may be one trip too often to the well. But like its two predecessors, The Trip to Spain is easy on the eyes, constantly amusing, and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, thanks to our hosts’ consummate comic chemistry.
Coogan and Brydon and their American movie – which started out as a British television series before being edited down for theatrical consumption in the United States — are, as they were before, good company: it’s that simple.
Surprise and innovation are not on the menu this trip, but reliably stimulating and satisfying interaction is.
But forget fast and furious, we’re talking slow and luxurious.
Which is why we’ll digest 2-1/2 stars out of 4. Like most sequels, The Trip to Spain is more of the same, but that makes it another enjoyable movie meal.