I have an old friend who is a
Recently he proposed that we go on a road trip
together, “just once before we die.”
What would we do?
Drive, eat, talk.
Maybe see some spectacular scenery (how about
both of us could afford it at the time (we’ve both had our ups and downs),
stay in some nice places.
Dine at some fine restaurants.
Converse about anything and everything, but try
to keep it light most of the time.
Humor always appreciated, because we’re in this
for a good time, like all we really want to do is enjoy one another’s
and just to set the record straight, we’re not gay, and have no intention of
bending in that direction.
But we do care about each other, even as we would
happily trundle off to our separate rooms.
The same ground rules apply to old
friends Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon.
They’ve already done this once, around
(they’re both Brits), with the pretext of Rob writing
restaurant reviews, and now his editor wants him to do an Italian mini-tour:
up the sports car. Plug
in the Alanis Morissette music (can we really be nostalgic about 90’s pop,
or is that, too, ironic?).
Bring on the Old World European charm, where
musty hotels are considered quaint, and small winding country roads appealing.
And though this sounds kinda boring, just tagging
along with these guys as they drive, eat, and talk, still, we can’t help but
think about how we ourselves would enjoy just such a trip, with just the right
companion, and, of course, no worries about expense.
Bring on the gourmet platters and the fine wines.
No, it’s not side-splitting
funny, though there are plenty of comedic moments. Brydon, especially, is
great at doing imitations, particularly of other actors.
Sure, you have to be somewhat of a cinemaphile to
appreciate the humor: Hugh
Grant’s stuttering cadence, Sean Connery’s stentorian brogue, Michael
Cain’s Cockney bluster, but Americans are fair game, too, especially Marlon
Brando, Dustin Hoffman, Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino:
well, you get the idea.
The funniest bits are when they play off each
other (probably spontaneously and unscripted), in riffing Batman, or
complaining about how most of the James Bond actors weren’t really English
(remember, my fellow Americans, they still make great distinctions about the
Welsh and the Scots, and particularly the Irish).
Yes, we have enough moviemaking
sense to know that comedy is unsustainable for the entire film’s length, so
we intersperse some serious moments, like when they tour the catacombs with
the pile of bones, or when divorced Steve is Skyping his 16-year-old son
who’s bored and doesn’t want to be with Mom right now, or when Rob is
calling his frazzled wife who’s home with their four-year-old daughter, and
never seems to have time to talk to him. And yes, there are a couple of women
along the way: Rob’s
agent, who gets him a gig playing a gangster accountant in a Hollywood film,
and joins them briefly to celebrate, and then there’s the stray young single
who crewed a sailboat that took them for a harbor ride, but this movie isn’t
really about men and women.
It’s about these two guys, on a friendly road
trip, just vacationing like we’re suspending all worries about international
politics, global warming, economic oppression, civil strife, political
posturing, the decline of organized religion, the demise of civilized
urbanity, or even anything remotely serious and sobering.
Let’s just take The Trip to
together, and forget about everything else for a while.
When can we leave?
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Minister,
St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church,