Could there be a worse time for The Trip to Greece to bow? In this fourth installment, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon (playing outsized versions of themselves), again go on a road trip in a beautiful locale, make jokes and eat at five-star restaurants. With so many of our summer 2020 travel dreams erased by the coronavirus pandemic, there is something quaint about watching the two stars take in the beautiful Greek landscape and ingest meal after delicious meal, a reminder of what life was like pre-COVID-19.

Repeating the same formula the actors perfected in The Trip, The Trip to Italy and The Trip to Spain, Coogan and Brydon once again turn in unflattering portrayals as a pair of narcissistic actors using each meal as an opportunity to engage in celebrity impersonations and witty, often brutal one-upmanship. Condensed to feature length from a British mini-series, like prior incarnations, Coogan and Brydon try to follow the voyage of Odysseus in one-week jaunt this time around.

Though the series has gone a little stale, there are still plenty of laughs, especially when the men do impressions of other celebrities. They may have retired their Michael Caine voices, but there are plenty of new targets this time around, including Ray Winstone, Werner Herzog, Arnold Schwarzenegger and, best of all, Mick Jagger, who they imagine during his recent hospital stay for heart surgery.

By this point, fans of the series are familiar with the foibles of both leads. Coogan, vain, often brings up his BAFTA awards and the good press he received for his role in Stan & Ollie. Brydon, the less famous of the pair, scrabbles to shine a light on his own achievements. Both men are aware that they are aging their way out of the limelight.

Past installments have dealt with fame, disintegrating marriage, loneliness and other deep subjects but the specter of death hangs over The Trip to Greece. Coogan discovers early on that his father is gravely ill. And who can’t think of the end when visiting the ruins of monuments made by men who have long since departed the Earth.

As we eat, drink and laugh our way through each day, we try to ignore the final moment that awaits us all. However, The Trip to Greece takes a strange, tonal shift towards its end. Maybe something was lost in adapting the mini-series to a more slender runtime, but director Michael Winterbottom juxtaposes Coogan’s grief against Brydon cavorting with his wife on gorgeous beaches. It just lands wrong. It is unclear if the men will ever take a trip together again but there is enough to recommend, especially since we are all grounded for the summer, to make this voyage worthwhile.

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