Directed by Michael Winterbottom
As a road trip should, this charming British import plays as “part plan, part improvisation, part fun, part irritation,” said Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times. Comic actors Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, playing themselves, perfectly capture the split personality of travel, then go one step further by creating a brilliant portrait of competing egos. Disgruntled with his Hollywood career, Coogan has accepted a newspaper assignment to review various fine restaurants scattered across the English countryside, and he takes his friend Brydon along. “The result is occasionally repetitive,” said David Germain in the Associated Press. But all is redeemed by the duo’s rapport, as Brydon’s self-assured joviality perfectly offsets Coogan’s insecure-diva act. The two friends often interact through impressions, imitating everyone from Michael Caine to Woody Allen, said Anthony Lane in The New Yorker. Their “extreme virtuosity” with this underappreciated art provides more than just diversion. It supplies a “vaunting thrust of fanciful wit” to a film that otherwise might not be worth the detour.