I was hoping to add The Trip to my weekly review roster, but after sampling episode 2's "L'Enclume" I have a feeling that would be pointless. Not that this is a bad comedy, because I find it amiable and entertaining, but it's beholden to a rigid formula so far: Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon travel to a swanky restaurant in the idyllic northern countryside, they have dinner while teasing each other and competing with impressions, and then retire to bed after calling their other halves.
Consequently, I feel like I've said everything I want to say last week. "L'Enclume" was effectively more of the same, albeit with a different set of impressions for Coogan and Brydon to do battle with. I particularly liked their attempt to do the best naturalistic Bond villain, Coogan's insight into the acting style of Richard Gere (look into the middle distance and act like you've just remembered something), and the observation that Anthony Hopkins isn't afraid to touch his own face. I could happily watch Coogan and Brydon chew the fat, half-scripted or not, for a very long time. The opening dream sequence, guest-starring Ben Stiller, was also a fun surprise, and I like it when the story touches on the disparities between Coogan and Brydon. The former an inveterate bachelor, the wrong side of 40, desperate to get himself a Hollywood career equal to his hero Jack Lemmon; the latter a more satisfied Welshman seen using his talents to charm his wife over the phone.
The Trip is a series I'm definitely going to see through to its final destination, but I hope the journey's a touch more unpredictable than episode 2 felt most of the time.
What do you think?
DIRECTOR: Michael Winterbottom
TRANSMISSION: 8 November 2010, BBC2/HD, 10PM