The Trip to Spain (2017) Blu-ray Review: Moore (or Les) of the Same

Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are at it again in this feature film version of the popular UK TV series.
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The third film adaptation to spawn from Michael Winterbottom's television series The Trip, The Trip to Spain reunites British comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon for yet another bizarre road trip. This time, our pair of middle-aged delinquents embark off to good ol' España to indulge in the finest Spanish cuisine (and wine for the Welshman, as Steve is on the wagon here). But food and drink are the least of the viewer's concern, as our hosts' seemingly erratic behavior is the thing that keeps us coming back for more. Or "Moore," as is the case in The Trip to Spain, since spot-on impersonations of late great James Bond actor Roger Moore are in abundance throughout this Trip.

Improvising their way through Cantabria, the Basque region, Aragon, Rioja, Castile, La Mancha (where they get annoyed with photographers on a Don Quixote-style shoot), and Andalucia, Steve and Rob continue to delight as they present us with humorous fictitious versions of themselves in the midst of "real-life" quests adulthood brings. Mercilessly mocking each other the entire time, the pair drift in and out of various impersonations of musicians (i.e. a grand "how to clap like Jagger" moment) and actors (Brando, Pacino, De Niro, Caine, et al), setting them in strange scenarios without breaking character; the local Spaniards surrounding around them never seeming to take much notice to whatever it is those crazy Brits are up to.

(Fear not, Españoles: most Americans scratch their head over this sort of humor, too.)

Though the attempt at "seriousness" ‒ especially the baffling conclusion (one has to wonder what was cut out of the original six-part Sky Atlantic series this feature was derived from) ‒ feels too forced, Michael Winterbottom's The Trip to Spain still manages to leave a memorable impression (several of them, in fact!). Between the beautiful locales and absolute deadpan humor, there's a lot to be seen and heard here. The whole film will undoubtedly confuse anyone who hasn't checked out any of the previous installments ‒ The Trip (2011) and The Trip to Italy (2014), both of which were also edited down from their original (BBC) series incarnations ‒ so you may want to get caught up before diving in here.

Originally released to U.S. cinemas by IFC Films, the folks at Shout! Factory bring The Trip to Spain to Blu-ray in a beautiful MPEG-4 AVC 1080p encode. Presenting the film in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, the High-Definition-shot title is nothing short of gorgeous throughout. The BD sports 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD MA lossless English audio tracks, with nothing more than the U.S. theatrical trailer in accompaniment. Personally, I kind of expected a bit "Moore" from this release in the Extras department (a commentary track from the director explaining just what the hell that unnecessary cliffhanger ending was all about would have been ideal), but considering how many good laughs The Trip to Spain gave me, I'm willing to overlook that oversight.

Recommended for anyone who loves weird improvised British humor.

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