This review contains SPOILERS. 2 1/2 stars. I'm a big Steve Coogan fan, and like Rob Bryden too, though have only seen him in the three Trip series. I liked the first two quite a bit, though the second one a little less, and now this one, which I liked considerably less. Why? These fellows seem to be regressing, growing less mature with each one. I am past 50, and intelligent people I know are discussing what's happening in the world, their families, aging, most of all the meaning of life. It tends to become even more important as we age. As Bette Davis famously said, "Old age ain't no place for sissies."
In Series 2 I thought it unlikely that these two would be waxing on about bedding young women. It was the WAY they discussed it, in terms of nameless conquests (this was a continuation of Series 1 in which Coogan beds random women- I assumed a form of denial over having been dumped by his girlfriend Mischa). It might have been more palatable to me if they'd also spoken ruefully about first loves, new loves being a thing of the past, perhaps. Anyway, where was the philosophizing about the meaning of life, one's achievements or lack thereof, changing perceptions of self, mortality, the imminence of death, etc.? As The Sunshine Company sang- "Once I used to think that the world belonged to me- now it belongs to someone else." ([[ASIN:B007SV288Q Back On The Street Again]]). Such issues were hinted at, though, suggested by the discussions about Wordsworth and Coleridge, walks through cemeteries, etc. in Series 1, and (despite the banter about picking up young women) in conversations with family and friends, discussions of Byron and Shelley, the visit to Pompei, and more, in Series 2.
Now we have Series 3 in which Coogan exponentially amps up his ridicule of Bryden about everything- losing his hair, being shorter and less attractive than Coogan, and most of all, being less successful than he. People don't do this after years of acquaintance (well, maybe idiots do, but these are bright, well-educated, worldly guys). Too much, too mean-spirited, doesn't ring true (and Coogan himself said in his autobiography that he's not as churlish as his "character" in The Trip. So why spin it that way?).
Personally, I love the impressions in all three series, especially Michael Caine- for me worth watching for those alone, though I must say that although they did bang on impressions of Mick Jagger's physicality and voice, the working class accent was wrong. Jagger grew up in an educated family, his father was "head", the Dean of St. Mary's University in London, and Mick himself went to the London School of Economics, no small potatoes (my husband knew them both in his youth). Mick's nothing if not cultured and erudite, Just sayin'. And I don't think I've ever heard anyone even attempt to do Bowie, so cool (ditto with Stephen Hawking).
But I didn't find this offering nearly as funny as the other two. And neither Spain nor the Spanish (Don Quixote but no Gaudi?!) nor its food were well-showcased. And finally, while I appreciated the ironic import of the ending, I don't like to be kept hanging, meh. Hopefully we'll find out what happened to Mr. Coogan in Trip #4. I do think the series are worth watching, even when they falter some- whether they will be your cup of tea or not I don't know.