When Steve Coogan was invited by The Observer to tour and review English fine dining establishments, he expected to bring along his girlfriend. Unfortunately, his girlfriend backs out on him, forcing him to take Rob Brydon, his best and most irritating friend. This chronicle is the shortened film release of the original six part television series, which aired on BBC.
Coogan and Brydon, both playing versions of themselves, are fantastic. They have great chemistry, and the myriad brief guests in their strange little bubble have a great time dealing with these man-children. The Michael Caine impersonations are especially entertaining (especially considering they get one of the quotes wrong). You get the feeling, watching these guys just eat and talk and roam about the countryside, that this is what you and your most annoying good friend would be like, were you both much more funny than you actually are. The 70 plus minutes cut from the miniseries are missed, causing the pacing to be altogether skewed. However, the end result is certainly easier viewing, as the cut scenes were largely on the somber side.
I have a feeling much of the American audience will be utterly lost watching this film, and it may not have found distribution here in the first place had it not been edited down. I found Coogan and Brydon to be hugely entertaining, both during their improvised comedic scenes and their melancholy ones. These men do not lead easy lives, but they are certainly striving to look on the bright side. If you are not a fan of British film, need lots of action to keep you interested, have never heard of James Bond or Michael Caine, or actively dislike either of the main actors, this is definitely not the film for you. On the flip side, if you've a taste for British comedy, enjoy impersonations, or wish to be entertained and maybe even slightly touched at the end of a film, rent this one.
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