Funny friends hit the road again in ‘The Trip to Spain’

Review • British comics Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon eat, chat and do impersonations in third road-trip film.

(Courtesy IFC Films) Steve Coogan (left) and Rob Brydon, playing fictionalized versions of themselves, endure dressing like Don Quixote and Sancho Panza while on a driving-and-eating tour of Spain, in the comedy "The Trip to Spain."

Turning 50 is good for many laughs, when it’s happening to somebody else — especially if those somebodies are British comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, teaming up for the third time for “The Trip to Spain.”

As happened in 2010 (in “The Trip”) and 2014 (in “The Trip to Italy”), Coogan and Brydon play exaggerated version of themselves, on a paid gig to travel the countryside, eat at fine restaurants and write reviews of the experience. This time, as the title implies, they’re doing this across Spain.

As in the previous installments, director Michael Winterbottom photographs lovely scenery, mouthwatering gourmet delights, and occasionally some pretty — and temporary — traveling companions. In their fictionalized lives, Rob has a wife (Rebecca Johnson) and two kids at home, while Steve is divorced with a 20-year-old son (Timothy Leach), and is in a rather quixotic pursuit of a noncommittal ex-girlfriend, Mischa (Margo Stilley), back in New York.

“Quixotic” is a key word, as we’re in the land of Cervantes, and mentions of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza are frequent in the men’s conversations. Rob talks about playing the lead in “Man of La Mancha,” and the men at one point sing the ’70s hit “The Windmills of Your Mind” in harmony.

And we find Steve in midlife form, especially when he learns his U.S. agent has left the firm, leaving Steve in the hands of a far-younger assistant, Jonathan (Kyle Soller). Jonathan informs Steve that his next script has been green-lit, though the studio wants an “up and coming” new writer to give it a polish. Steve, fresh off an Oscar nomination for co-writing “Philomena,” argues that he doesn’t need “up and coming.” “I’ve up and come,” he cries.

But what makes these movies work — and what still works in “The Trip to Italy” — is the running dialogue between Steve and Rob, as they hurl light-hearted insults at each other. One strong scene has Steve trying to show off his knowledge of the Moors, while Rob undercuts him with a long impersonation of Roger Moore. And, yes, like Lynyrd Skynyrd playing “Free Bird,” the dueling Michael Caines are played as an encore.

With “The Trip to Spain,” Coogan, Brydon and Winterbottom have created their own male-bonding version of Richard Linklater’s “Before Sunrise” trilogy — following a friendship and its ups and downs over the years. I don’t know how long they can keep it going, so enjoy it while it lasts.

• • • 1/2<br>’The Trip to Spain’<br>Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon trade insults and impersonations on another humorous vacation, this time through Spain.<br>Where • Broadway Centre Cinemas.<br>When • Opens Friday, Sept. 8.<br>Rating • Not rated, but probably PG-13 for language and sexual dialogue.<br>Running time • 108 minutes.