The Trip series is hard to categorise. You can expect a lot of comedic riffing, some nice-looking meals and scenery, with a smidgen of emotional depth. They’re mostly inert plot-wise, but they’re nice to hang out in for a few hours.
And not necessarily because Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are good company. Everyone knows they’re playing heightened versions of themselves, so presumably Brydon isn’t as annoying as he seems. But the extent to which the two are prepared to pick at their own insecurities (and each other’s) is still impressive.
This feels like the most impression-heavy Trip so far, adding Bowie and Jagger to the roster, but they’re still the funniest moments. It’s also the most melancholy instalment, focused on the onset of old age. The guys’ declaration that they’re in the prime of their lives is repeatedly proved false in Partridge-esque ways. You almost don’t notice in the gorgeous Spanish countryside, but for a lightweight off-the-cuff comedy, the spectre of death looms large.
These films are so good-natured that any criticism almost feels unfair. But this does feel like the weakest Trip so far, with less novelty than the first, and less depth than the second. There’s still plenty of well-presented food and landscapes at sunset, but it never seems to fully gel. Coogan and Brydon are amiable enough, and often hilarious. They’re still nice to hang out with. Just slightly less so.