COMEDY; 1hr 52min
STARRING: Steve Coogan, Rob Bryden
Mano a mano: from left, Bryden and Coogan
Playing au naturel versions of themselves, comedians and mates Coogan and Bryden take off on a gastronomic tour of the North of England. Coogan, who is writing up their six-restaurant stint for The Observer magazine, has co-opted Bryden as a tag-along after his girlfriend (Nine Songs’ Margo Stilley) bows out. The tranquil countryside is timeless, the food is as stylishly crafted as a runway show and the guys — talkative, combative and, Bryden especially, word-perfect mimics — are dream dinner-party candidates.
Reflective interludes reveal Coogan as something of a lonely, striving soul but the overall mood here is up and away. Coogan and Bryden have worked with director Michael Winterbottom before, on 24 Hour Party People and A Cock and Bull Story, and their chummy escapades have a breezy, collaborative flow. That’s half their charm. The other half is the twosome’s quick-witted back and forth: part duelling egos, part cracking wise and never a dull moment.