The reliably adventurous Michael Winterbottom (24 Hour Party People, In This World, 9 Songs, A Cock and Bull Story
) has latched onto a foolproof low-budget gambit with this amiable, often riotous road film. Here, his frequent co-conspirators Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon star as entertainers modeled on themselves. When Coogan is hired by the London Observer
to take a foodie vacation tour of the north's finest restaurants, he turns to Brydon for company after his latest girlfriend, an American, blows him off at the last minute. The two of them hit the road together, traveling in a remote, rugged region of England: North Yorkshire, Cumbria and the lake country of Wordsworth and Coleridge, all misty moors and rugged mountains. Coogan and Brydon sleep in a succession of remote, quaint inns, and they drink and dine in haute cuisine restaurants. Although their largely improvised antics at times feint toward a satirical pillaging of foodie-ism, the pair's routine is really about showbiz. A running gag is a gold mine: Coogan and Brydon riff on famous actors and perform dueling impressions, as well. The Michael Caine scene is a keeper, sure to feature in his lifetime testimonials.