One last excursion with food and passive-aggressive friendship.
In the annals of cinema, director Michael Winterbottom’s decade-long The Trip series stands alongside Richard Linklater’s Before films as an incredible example of improvised yet structured collaboration between filmmaker and talent. Both sets of movies use the conceit of occasional check-ins with a couple characters to see how their relationship has evolved since we last saw them, while the actors themselves are responsible for knowing their characters so completely that the directors just point the camera and let them do their thing.
This week, Winterbottom’s series continues with The Trip To Greece. This fourth time around once more features slightly fictionalized versions of stars Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan setting out on a road trip, ostensibly so Coogan can write about the food and culture they experience in a given European location.
Both stars are funny in and of themselves, but the humor of the films comes from seeing just how competitive they become while spending so much time together. They enjoy the food and locations along the way but also spend much of their trip sniping at each other or maintaining a thin veneer of friendship as they try to one-up the other in some manner.
As with the previous three films, this one is being sold based on the ability of Coogan and Brydon to riff off each other against some of the most beautiful backdrops a country has to offer.
Anyone familiar with the previous films will recognize the looks on Coogan and Brydon’s faces on the poster, released in April, as indicative of their personalities throughout the series. Brydon looks like he’s having a great time while Coogan looks more weary and resigned, but those expressions run counter to which of the comedy/tragedy masks they’re holding. The Greek cityscape can be seen behind them as food from the country is placed on the table in front of them.
Two different elements convey to audiences that this is intended to be the last film in the series. At the top a pull quote praises it as “A beautiful note to end on” while below the title we’re told this is “The final course.”
The one trailer (115,000 views on YouTube), which came out in early April, has everything fans have enjoyed about the series to date. We see the pair of travelers eating and driving their way through Greece as they engage in Roger Moore impersonation battles, make pointed comments about each other’s careers and lots more. Everything here is in-line with what’s come before and is therefore assumed to be attractive to the target audience.
Online and Social
Just the basic information on IFC’s page for the film.
Advertising and Promotions
It wasn’t surprising when, in late 2019, the film was acquired by IFC Films, the same distributor that had handled the previous three entries in the series. It was scheduled to screen at April’s Tribeca Film Festival as well as the SF Film Festival.
The first clip was released in mid-March showing Brydon and Coogan engaged in some of their trademark banter.
Short spots like this were released on social media and were likely used in limited TV advertising as well.
Not surprising that another clip from the movie featured even more bickering as well as an attempt to see who has the better Arnold Schwarzenegger impression.
Media and Press
An interview with Winterbottom had him talking about how despite the potential for ongoing trips this one felt like the last to all involved.
The two stars were interviewed jointly about working together, this recent movie and reaching the end of the road for the franchise. Those same topics were the focus of many other interviews and profiles either of the pair or one of the stars on their own.
The campaign, like that of several recent films, clearly communicates to the audience that this might very well be the last time we encounter these two, so let’s savor it.
As with the previous three films, this one looks like the same kind of fun and silliness. Brydon and Coogan are such talented performers that asking them to play off each other is like asking the wind to blow. And I’m admittedly a sucker for just sitting back and watching a couple guys yank each other’s chains for 90-odd minutes, so this is right in my wheelhouse.