Review: The Trip To Italy

This review was originally posted on Punch Drunk Critics

How would do you describe The Trip To Italy to someone who, maybe like some of you, have never seen The Trip? Well, let me give it a shot. The Trip To Italy is the sophisticated and worldly man’s bromantic comedy. Much like the earlier film a lot of Judd Apatow comedies, it’s about looking at male friendships through a comedic lens, only less subdued and crass overall. It’s not really sappy either because, hey people, this is British so it’s full of guarded vulnerability wrapped in quips and great impersonations. The Trip To Italy brings back together stars Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon with Director Michael Winterbottom as fictionalized versions of themselves again on restaurant tour, this time through Italy from Liguria to Capri following the path of the great romantic poets.

Now much like the last film, there really isn’t much of a hardcore linear plot being told here. It’s mostly a film made up of improvised conversations and constant back and forth between Coogan and Brydon as they try to one-up each other. The one difference in this film than the last is a greater emphasis on them getting older and trying to come to grips with it. This time the two are lot less adversarial and open in terms of what the “characters” are feeling in terms of their lives. There is a lot of scenes here that are just them riffing on different impersonations of famous actors. They, of course, go back to doing the greatest Michael Caine impersonations ever done but this time instead of doing the OG Bond in Connery they decide to keep doing Roger Moore to hilarious effect as one does Caine and the other Moore in imagined interactions.

Being that The Trip To Italy is like its predecessor a BBC comedic series that was edited down from six 30-minute episodes into a roughly 2-hour film the quality of the direction feels like a BBC show. That’s not a bad thing at all there is always a very cinematic level of filmmaking in a lot of British television and you’d never know this was a TV series first unless made aware of it. The film also does a fantastic job of keeping you interested even though it’s just two actors on screen either talking, eating or driving. They also have some great shots of Italy’s landscape and landmarks along with a great quick shot of the different restaurants preparing the dishes they are eating.

Finally, I’ll be honest I really like British humor a lot. I grew up on it but while watching this I chuckled knowing this might not be for everyone.  It might be a bit too quiet and slow for some, and it has no real “point”. For what it’s worth its pretty dope to see a film that has two men as friends, having conversations and enjoying one another’s company with bubbling, gross events, and silly action/slapstick set pieces. For what it’s worth my score is going to be a high one but hey maybe I’m biased to English accents or I’m just sappy these days.

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