The Trip

Movie review by
Tom Cassidy, Common Sense Media
The Trip Movie Poster Image
Clever road-trip comedy has swearing, drugs, sex references.
  • NR
  • 2011
  • 112 minutes

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Passive aggressiveness, bickering, and self-centeredness are on display throughout. Any positive messages can only be read between the lines, as the movie serves as a cautionary tale of how ego and careerism can corrupt a person's life.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon play fictionalized versions of themselves. Coogan sleeps around and takes drugs. His infidelity is discussed. Brydon is personable and friendly. Both characters hold their children in high regard, and Brydon is shown to be a loving family man.


Brief discussion about child abuse.


Some innuendo. Character sleeps with several people. Couple discuss having phone sex. 


Innuendo and some language, including "c--t" "f--k," "f--king," "ass," "pisses," "Christ," "Jesus," and "s--t."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters regularly drink alcohol -- usually wine -- at meals, but also alone in a hotel room. A character smokes a cigarette and a joint. A character is seen -- from behind -- taking cocaine. A discussion about heroin and teenage drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Trip is a hilarious feature-length movie made from a British six-part comedy-drama TV series about two friends who travel around northern England reviewing restaurants. Directed by Michael Winterbottom, it has the two lead characters, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, improvising passive-aggressive fictional versions of themselves. The two are continually locked in a battle of one-upmanship as they try to outdo each other with impersonations and argue about their careers and behavior. Coogan's character is an insecure, jealous womanizer, who smokes a joint during the movie and has sex with multiple women -- although this is suggested rather than seen. A female companion of Coogan's takes cocaine, and it's assumed he does, too. Brydon is more likable, portrayed as a family man, albeit with a big, but fragile, ego. Much of the jokes and impersonations feature strong language, including "c--t" and variants of "f--k." There is a "joke" about Coogan having been an alter boy and whether he was abused or not. The restaurant scenes also involve drinking alcohol, and there is some cigarette smoking. The Trip is the first in a series of movies.

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What's the story?

In THE TRIP, a fictionalized version of the actor Steve Coogan is sent by a newspaper on a week-long tour of high-end restaurants in the north of England. When his girlfriend drops out, he asks his friend, Rob Brydon, to go with him. But as the pair spend more time together, their egos clash.

Is it any good?

This comedy-drama is a deceptively deep and downbeat character study. Originally aired in the U.K. as a six-part TV series, The Trip is best known for the YouTube clips of Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon battling over dinner to see who can do the best celebrity impersonations. But there's far more to this feature-length movie than who does the best Michael Caine. Coogan and Brydon have both done excellent work with director Michael Winterbottom before (24 Hour Party People, A Cock and Bull Story) and here, between the bombast of the impersonations, the director draws out of them superb performances portraying actors desperately driven by ego.

Based on real-life tabloid reports of his life, Coogan's character comes out worst: a self-centered, jealous womanizer for whom nothing appears to be enough. The movie's masterstroke is how this character is relatively loathsome but still carries pathos. Set against the beautifully shot but bleak landscape of northern England, it has an undercurrent of melancholia that makes the end of the week-long trip feel almost a relief. But the journey is entirely worth it to see such subtle but pitch-perfect performances that linger long after the movie ends.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the amount of strong language in The Trip. Was it necessary to the story? Who do you think the movie's intended audience is? How can you tell?

  • Discuss the movie's attitude toward sex. Do characters seem more interested in casual sex or in establishing deeper connections? 

  • How are smoking, drinking, and drugs portrayed in the movie? Do you think substance use is glamorized or shown in a positive light? Are there realistic consequences? Why does that matter?

  • Talk about Coogan and Brydon's relationship. Would you call them friends? What do you think was the cause of some of their clashes? What makes a good friendship?

  • What do you think makes a world-class restaurant?

Movie details

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For kids who love comedy

Themes & Topics

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