One of the cool things about Michael Winterbottom is that you simply never know what you're going to get each time out. As the director of films like Welcome to Sarajevo, Wonderland, 24 Hour Party People, Code 46, Tristram Shandy, The Killer Inside Me, and a bunch of others, the filmmaker seems firmly intent on being one of those "eclectic" directors, one who'll leap from comedy to tragedy sci-fi to avant-garde weirdness with an admirable enthusiasm. (It's the kind of thing that makes us admire directors like Howard Hawks, Robert Wise, and Danny Boyle: they try a slightly new genre each time out.)

It's Winterbottom's devotion to being different that makes his latest, the low-key two-character comedy The Trip, no real surprise at all. That the movie is so strangely endearing and consistently funny is a satisfying discovery, but, again, not much of a surprise.