An exercise in mutual masturbation. I'm generally not a violent person, but by the halfway mark, I was ready to stab both these fellows to death. The film reminded me of every event I've had to be at where men monopolize the conversation, not realizing that the women are bored stiff and that their smiles are of total pain. The scenery of Spain is gorgeous. Rob Brydon has some humility. Steve Coogan drowns in hubris.
To call this more of the same is to complain that old friends haven't changed each time you meet up. Should Winterbottom, Coogan and Brydon opt to continue this series, the long-term rewards will certainly become wonderfully apparent in hindsight. Each slice of time is but a fleeting moment in the bigger picture of life and friendship.
This largely improvised narrative continues to work thanks to the awkward chemistry between the leads, ever so different but equally self-aware of their own illusions. Perhaps because of that, the Don Quixote/Sancho Panza metaphor works extraordinarily well, adding the habitual bittersweet layer that defines this saga. In that respect we find Brydon growing into his own status as Coogan seems as lost as he ever was.
Brydon and Coogan take a third trip with Winterbottom for another charming, humorous and self-effacing journey. The chemistry between the friends/foils is still electric; riffing off one another and each trying to outdo the other in every endeavour or conversation. Why it works is the fact that these are two people one would genuinely enjoy spending time with.
With each iteration of the premise this endeavour moves further away from having a point, but then the attempts at plot have always been the worst part, a mere distraction from the impressions, banter and bits which are all perfect here. That Winterbottom wrings such pathos out of the pairs privileged pilgimage elevates it above disposibility, above say a podcast, but only just.