by Xavier Toby in New Film on Wednesday 10 August 2011

Steve Coogan playing up his narcissistic on-screen persona with long-time companion Rob Brydon in the passenger seat. The banter is, at times, hilarious, and then uncomfortably, squeamishly hilarious, and then just a bit sad. Which is funny, too. The impersonations are the highlight, while the substance comes in the comparing of Coogan’s supposedly lonely but more successful career with Brydon’s stable home life and solid body of work.

While both performers are obviously in on the joke of tearing apart their perceived personalities, it is worth considering how close the onscreen personas are to real life. Just because you can play yourself onscreen and have a good laugh, it doesn’t make it any less real. Sure, it’s all a setup and we’re laughing at the celebrity machine etc, but it’s the inherent truth of the pretend nastiness that makes this compelling. And really, really funny.