Steve Coogan has been asked by The Observer to tour the country's finest restaurants, but after his girlfriend backs out on him he must take his best friend and source of eternal aggravation, Rob Brydon.
When famous DJ Alan Partridge's radio station is taken over by a new media conglomerate, it sets in motion a chain of events which see Alan having to work with the police to defuse a potentially violent siege.
When Steve Coogan is asked by The Observer to tour the country's finest restaurants, he envisions it as the perfect getaway with his beautiful girlfriend. But, when she backs out on him, he has no one to accompany him but his best friend and source of eternal aggravation, Rob Brydon. Written by
(REVIEW FOR SERIES) What we've really got is two series. One is the comedy of "Steve Coogan" and "Rob Brydon" exchanging barbs and doing impressions and making witty observations. These parts generally occur over the six meals they share, and I really enjoyed them. Some of their banter is hilarious... I had already seen the Michael Caine routine several times on YouTube and yet I still laughed at it. The other film involves the contrast between these people/characters: Steve, trying to bolster his acting career and struggling with a relationship that's starting to crack, and Rob the less successful but content family man. And I really enjoyed this part as well. Rob's calls home to his wife are amusing but also quite touching. Steve's existential midlife crisis is engaging and insightful as well. The two halves of the film do bleed into each other a bit, but I genuinely appreciated the separation between them. Winterbottom knows that it's okay to just let these two guys play off each other with their natural comedic chemistry and not worry about whether or not it's pushing the "plot" forward. The photography is mostly functional, concentrating on the personalities, but quite lovely when capturing all that gorgeous English countryside. While the film isn't as post-modern as the previous collaborations (24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE and TRISTRAM SHANDY, both of which seem to get minor callbacks in the first episode, though it may be merely coincidence) it still maintains an unconventionality.
(REVIEW FOR FILM) I'm very glad I watched the series before the movie. The film does contain the highlights from the show, most of the big belly laughs are intact... the "to bed" sequence is still a riot. But although I can't point to too many specific instances of scenes that I miss, the whole thing doesn't hang together well enough. You can tell there's stuff missing, it feels so fragmented and slapdash. I'm not even sure I want to keep the DVD. There's a generous deleted scenes section (running nearly as long as the film itself), but it doesn't even include everything from the series (about an hour of it is different takes of the "to bed" scene). If I was to watch it again I'd rather see in its original form. It just flows so much better. Like the fine wines Steve & Rob imbibe, the moments need to breathe.
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