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Steve Coogan and Rob Bryden Follow Homer's 'Odyssey' In Their New Film

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

It's been a decade since celebrity pals Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon had their dueling impressions of Michael Caine go viral in the movie "The Trip."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE TRIP")

STEVE COOGAN: (As self) I've not heard your Michael Caine, but I assume it would be something along the lines of, (imitating Michael Caine) my name's Michael Caine.

ROB BRYDON: (As self) That is where you're so wrong. I say, (imitating Michael Caine) Michael Caine used to talk like this in the 1960s, right? But that has changed. And I say that, over the years, Michael's voice has come down several octaves. Let me finish.

KELLY: Since then, they've hit the road with dueling Al Pacino impressions in "The Trip To Italy," dueling Mick Jaggers in "The Trip To Spain," and now critic Bob Mondello says you can catch them on home screens in "The Trip To Greece."

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: Nothing is quite what they expect. The siege of Troy, for instance, took place in what's now Turkey, and the locale is somehow disappointing.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE TRIP TO GREECE")

BRYDON: (As self) There's not a lot here, is there, really, when you think about it.

COOGAN: (As self) It's all sandy beaches, isn't it?

BRYDON: (As self) Greeks were camped here 10 years. I can do a week tops.

COOGAN: (As self) In the Lake District.

BRYDON: (As self) Yeah, with a pillow. I won't camp without a pillow.

MONDELLO: The excuse for this trip is the same as ever, a culinary assignment. Steve Coogan's been commissioned to review Greece's destination restaurants, this time while retracing the steps of Greek warrior Odysseus. Rob Brydon's along mostly to needle him.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE TRIP TO GREECE")

COOGAN: (As self) Are you singing "Grease" because we're in Greece?

BRYDON: (As self, singing) Grease is the word.

When I'm in Greece, I hear the word Greece, I think "Grease."

COOGAN: (As self) Yes, but it's not the same thing. It's a homophone.

BRYDON: (As self) No. No. No. No.

COOGAN: (As self) It's a homophone.

BRYDON: (As self) It's a - how dare you.

MONDELLO: Like the other trip movies, "The Trip To Greece" has been whittled down from a six-part British TV series in which Coogan and Brydon bicker in spectacular tourist spots, taste what looks like scrumptious food...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE TRIP TO GREECE")

BRYDON: (As self) Lovely combination of textures.

MONDELLO: ...And natter on about whatever strikes them.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE TRIP TO GREECE")

BRYDON: (As self) What's this?

COOGAN: (As self) If I'm not mistaken, it's a Penguin Classic.

BRYDON: (As self) And it's by Aristotle.

COOGAN: (As self) I know Ari (ph). Yeah, I know all the Stotles (ph).

BRYDON: (As self) Poetics - listen to this. Epic poetry and the composition of tragedy as well as comedy and the arts of poetry and music are all imitations. You did a fantastic imitation of Stan Laurel in "Stan & Ollie."

COOGAN: (As self, imitating Stan Laurel) I certainly did.

MONDELLO: He certainly did. Though they both do fine imitations, Coogan really wants to believe that his go beyond mere words when Brydon catches him briefly lost in thought.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE TRIP TO GREECE")

BRYDON: (As self) A bit of Richard Gere there just looking off. And you're looking more like him as well.

COOGAN: (As self) That's good.

BRYDON: (As self) No I wasn't being serious. I was joking.

COOGAN: (As self) Oh (laughter).

BRYDON: (As self) My God, you lapped that compliment up, didn't you? Look at that.

COOGAN: (As self) I look better as I get older.

BRYDON: (As self) Yes, you do.

COOGAN: (As self) Lots of women say that.

BRYDON: (As self) Yes, you do. I'm saying it. You look better older.

COOGAN: (As self) Oh, thank you.

BRYDON: (As self) You were unpalatable as a young man.

MONDELLO: Director Michael Winterbottom has these two playing exaggerated versions of their real selves, riffing off roles they've played and roles others have played.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE TRIP TO GREECE")

COOGAN: (As self, imitating Ben Braddock) Mrs. Robinson, are you trying to seduce me?

BRYDON: (As self, imitating Ben Braddock) Are you trying to seduce me, Mrs. Robinson?

Then, think, what do you choose next? I'll tell you. "Midnight Cowboy." Why did he choose that? Because it was so different - Ratso Rizzo.

COOGAN: (As self) Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

BRYDON: (As self) Jon Voight says, (imitating Joe Buck) well, hell, I'm a hustler. You didn't know that? Dustin says, (imitating Ratso Rizzo) Well, how am I supposed to know that? You got to tell a person these things. I mean, I understand. The broad starts crying, I cut my heart out for her. And then there was "Tootsie," of course. (Imitating Dorothy Michaels) I'm not Dorothy Michaels.

COOGAN: (As self, imitating Dorothy Michaels) I'm not Dorothy Michaels.

BRYDON: (As self, imitating Michael Dorsey) I'm Michael Dorsey.

COOGAN: (As self, imitating Michael Dorsey) I'm Michael Dorsey.

(LAUGHTER)

MONDELLO: Though there are still laughs, the overall tone has shifted a bit. Maybe it's the talk of Greek philosophers, but the imitations come with intimations of mortality this time. The trip will be cut short - a sprint, not a marathon.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE TRIP TO GREECE")

BRYDON: (As self) And we're going near Olympia. Why don't we stop there?

COOGAN: (As self) It's going to be full of tourists.

BRYDON: (As self) The Olympic Games were held every four years throughout classical antiquity.

COOGAN: (As self) We're not going there.

MONDELLO: But the seed has already been planted. Brydon imagines Olympic runners and the theme from "Chariots Of Fire," which he sings - if you can call it that - doing all the parts, the camera never straying from their faces trapped with them in the car, though the crystal Aegean is visible right out the windshield.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE TRIP TO GREECE")

BRYDON: (As self) Vangelis. Greek.

MONDELLO: Coogan looks dyspeptic.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE TRIP TO GREECE")

BRYDON: (As self, vocalizing).

COOGAN: (As self) You're doing it like a horn, though. It was a piano. (Vocalizing).

BRYDON: (As self) Oh, sorry. Glang (ph) is the word for piano.

MONDELLO: And the breathtaking Greek coast they're tooling along might as well be Siberia.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE TRIP TO GREECE")

BRYDON: (As self) I'll be the percussion.

MONDELLO: I'm Bob Mondello.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE TRIP TO GREECE")

COOGAN: (As self, vocalizing).

BRYDON: (As self, vocalizing).

(SOUNDBITE OF SYNTHESIZER SYNDICATE'S "CHARIOTS OF FIRE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.