If you know the premise of this series, the third instalment won’t surprise you: Delicious plates of garlic-sautéed scallops and other mouthwatering delicacies are scarfed down in exotic locales by two old frenemies (Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, playing versions of themselves). Both comedy virtuosos, they trade celebrity impressions to hide their own insecurities. The Trip to Spain plays like warmed-up leftovers, as did, to a lesser extent, the first sequel, The Trip to Italy (2014); the freshness of The Trip (2010), which had you shocked a plot could be so simple yet so profound, is by now evaporating.
Impressions-wise, only a new pair of duelling David Bowies reaches the heights of past films’ Michael Caines. Sneakily, the subject of career dissatisfaction has the most resonance this time: Coogan, once a screenplay Oscar nominee for Philomena, seethes over recent ignominies. (Brydon, for his part, can’t stand his companion’s constant crowing over a Judi Dench movie.) Yet as exposed as the actors allow themselves to be, their mostly improvised, always funny, script never takes them anywhere, and the rough edge of their banter seems to acknowledge as much.
The bottom line Good laughs and food. But going off the boil.