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A few years ago, British comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon starred in The Trip, which depicted a semi-improvised foodie road trip through England where both men played exaggerated versions of themselves. The two men have obvious chemistry together, and the success of the first trip led to the latest edition, The Trip To Italy. As with the first film, the second originally started as a BBC television series, but was condensed into a feature film for release in American theaters.
If you enjoyed The Trip, you should enjoy The Trip to Italy as well. All of the familiar parts are back, from both of their Michael Caine impressions (as well as a few new impressions) to the picturesque landscape shots by director Michael Winterbottom. If you haven’t seen the first film, there’s nothing that should keep you from being able to enjoy this follow up.
If one purpose of a film such as this one is to convince the viewer to immediately want to travel to that place, then The Trip to Italy is a success. Italy shines as the third character of the movie, and I found myself already planning my next trip there. Between the food and the shots of the coastline and its winding roads, Winterbottom did not lack for attractive places to shoot. If the tourism boards of Italy did not contribute any funding to this production, they should have, as they could not have had a better commercial made.
It’s in both the scenery & the interactions between Rob Brydon & Steve Coogan that the film particularly excels. While it helps to have some knowledge of British pop culture to get all of the references, the meal conversations between Brydon & Coogan are every bit as entertaining as in the first film. They play so well off each other that their interactions with other characters seem far less interesting, and you’ll likely find yourself wishing they’d just get back to driving or eating rather than talking to anyone else. A movie does need some plot, but the development of these secondary stories takes a backseat to what is ultimately a road trip movie between two friends who are facing up to the fact that they are no longer young men. They’ve both changed over the years, but The Trip stays the same.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars