The Trip to Italy

The Trip to Italy photo starrating-3stars.jpgLike The Trip in 2010, this follow-up was edited down from the series of the British TV sitcom with the same name. Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, playing fictionalized versions of themselves, are enlisted for another restaurant tour in the second series. The inaugural one was in England. This time it’s in Italy with stunning locales from Liguria to Capri. Their destinations follow the Grand Tour of Italy, the beaten path of 19th century Romantic poets like Byron and Keats.

Anyone who has seen the first picture knows what to expect. More fantastic meals filmed in beautiful locations, accompanied by humorous conversations. There’s no denying that the duo has some amusing observations scattered throughout. Although any screenplay that zeroes in on Alanis Morissette’s 1995 album Jagged Little Pill as a target of humor two decades after the fact, isn’t aiming for timeliness. There’s an air of melancholy too. Rob Brydon contemplates an affair from his apparently unhappy marriage. Coogan laments his waning sex appeal to young women. The script is witty, but it lacks confidence to add something fresh to the familiar concept. It saunters along with no direction. It’s more of a reflection than a focused film.

The Trip to Italy is more of the same. Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are a funny comedy team. Their dueling Michael Caines were a standout in the original. This time however the shtick comes across as a bit desperate. The movie has barely begun and they’re already going back that well again. “You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!” Steve Coogan shout at the top of his lungs. The obvious Caine quote from 1969’s The Italian Job. Then the pair discuss The Dark Knight Rises and who is less understandable – Tom Hardy as Bane or Christian Bale as Batman. Do you like the impressions? Then I have very good news for you – a whole slew of celebrities are mimicked: Clint Eastwood, Sean Connery, Richard Burton, Anthony Hopkins, Hugh Grant, Dustin Hoffman, Truman Capote, Gore Vidal, Humphrey Bogart. Some are good (Woody Allen). Others are just awful (Al Pacino). Perhaps that was the point. Most of these are done by Brydon who once again plays the irritant to Coogan’s agitated fellow. So how do you say déjà vu in Italian?

09-10-14

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18 Responses to “The Trip to Italy”

  1. I wanted to see this when it was playing at the Sarasota Film Festival last spring but there was a conflict (in scheduling) so I opted for a different film.

    After reading your review now I’m not so sure.

    However since it is town now, I can see it as a refresher for my own trips to Italy – the last of which was in 2010.

    • Nothing can compare to the real thing, of course, but this is a pleasant jaunt with some funny observations. I was hoping they’d bring something new to the table and it was just more of the same.

  2. Missed the opportunity to watch the original on BBC last Xmas, so had no idea about this follow-up.
    http://bradscribe.wordpress/2014/09/15/towering-influence/
    Cheers!

  3. I pretty much agree with you on this one. It’s not as good as the first.

    • Funny they even lament about how sequels are rarely very good in that self referential bit, then joke that the only exception anyone can ever cite is The Godfather: Part II.

  4. I look forward to jumping into these movies, as well as the other Coogan hit, Alan Partridge. Great review man, too bad it couldn’t take the story in a different direction or expand upon it in any significant way.

    • And don’t forget Steve Coogan’s biggest hit…..Night at the Museum. lol 😉

      • I just noticed you reviewed Hamlet 2 on rotten tomatoes (or have part of a review posted to that page). What did u think of him in that? I would agree that the movie just didn’t have enough to really justify 90 minutes but I thought he was hilarious. That was my intro to him actually.

      • It had its moments. I didn’t care for the movie but he was funny in the part. Would’ve been more effective as a sketch than a feature film.

  5. I’ve had the first one on my list for a while, but I sort of put it on the back burner after seeing the trailer for this sequel when I went to see Boyhood. I just didn’t get what was so funny about it. Seemed so fast-paced and I might have been the only person in the theater not laughing. Anyway. I wasn’t aware either of the films was from a TV series, so thank you for letting me know that. Good review, Mark.

    P.S.: Have you seen The Drop?

  6. 3stars. This was more of the same movie, “The Trip”. Funny but more, been there done that.

  7. Just saw The Trip (the first one). Wasn’t impressed. Liked the character impressions, and I applaud that they kept so much going through almost entirely improv, but I didn’t find anything else funny except for those character impressions.

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