Two men, six meals in six different places on a road trip around Italy. Liguria, Tuscany, Rome, Amalfi and ending in Capri.
Italy is an absolutely beautiful country. I had the opportunity to visit it back in 1994 before I came to the U.S. and for anybody who has ever dreamed or imagined going there, I have one question: what are you waiting for? It also makes for great bragging rights as any time my family and I are watching a movie or TV show and Italy pops up, I can exclaim, with pure joy, “I was there”, much to everybody else’s chagrin. “The Trip to Italy” is a sequel to the 2010 movie “The Trip”, in which Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon traveled around the north of England, sampling the U.K.’s top restaurants. I haven’t had the chance to see it yet but based on my experience with this film, you can bet I will be checking it out and soon.
Mr. Coogan and Mr. Brydon return and pretty much play themselves again, or at least exaggerated versions of themselves but instead of the U.K., they are on assignment for the London Observer, traveling around Italy in a Mini Cooper, sampling the country’s many different fine restaurants while listening to Alanis Morissette. They stop off in Liguria, Tuscany, Rome, Amalfi and wind up in Capri. The movie is based on their 2010 hit British sitcom “The Trip” which was edited into the film version of the same name. The film is really a homage to Italy and is more about the romanticism attached to the country than the actual country itself.
References are naturally made in regards to “The Godfather”, “Roman Holiday” and “La Dolce Vita”, accompanied by some of the actual filming locations for said movies and while there is some absolutely breathtaking scenery throughout, not very much happens, plotwise. What carries the movie is the interactions between Mr. Coogan and Mr. Brydon and their snappy rapartee back and forth along with their celebrity impersonations, ranging from Michael Caine to Sean Connery and Robert DeNiro to Roger Moore. Director Michael Winterbottom obviously knows these men as he directed their TV show and the film’s predecessor and instead of trying to direct them, he just lets his cameras roll and sits back and lets these two comic geniuses do their thing.
There are some dramatic subplots which involve Mr. Brydon sleeping with a beautiful blonde deckhand on one of the boats they rent while his wife and daughter are back in England and Mr. Coogan’s son Joe (Timothy Leach), suffering from teen angst who is flown out to his father so they can have some father-son time together but they never really amount to anything. Anybody who knows these two and has seen their previous collaborations are just waiting for them to start impersonating all of Hollywood and like the professional comedians they are, nothing and no one is off limits once they get going.
In select theaters August 29th including the Magnolia Theater in Dallas