The Trip To Italy
Having enjoyed the original film ‘The Trip’ so thoroughly I had high expectations for this sequel. Michael Winterbottom once again directs Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon in a semi-fictionalised adventure together. The premise is almost identical to that of the first movie. Brydon has been hired by the Observer to write some restaurant reviews, and he has for a second time invited Coogan to accompany him. This time though instead of the Lake Districts the pair are off to retrace the steps of the Romantic poets’ grand tour of Italy.
The locations are simply exquisite. Had I the wherewithal I would happily head off immediately to any of the hotels they stayed in. Each seemed to possess amazing views, beautiful architecture and luxurious accommodation. The countryside that Coogan and Brydon drove through in their rather quaint Mini was spectacular. Yet however visually stunning they were, the food and locations were almost incidental to the stunning repartee between Coogan and Brydon who bounce ideas and impersonations off one another with consummate ease. Coogan maintains his more serious almost bored persona to Brydon’s slightly quirkier character, but as with the original film, Coogan is again unable to resist joining in and indeed competing with Rob in an ongoing battle of who can produce the best impression. And yes, the ‘Michael Caine voice’ does rear its head again, much to everyone’s enjoyment.
There were several parts in the film where I could have choked on my jaffas I was laughing so hard. Indeed the theatre was full of people guffawing and laughing at the irreverent humour. The sight of the two men folded into a mini driving around the Italian countryside debating the merits of Alanis Morissette songs was enough to provoke hilarity. A highlight had to be the conversation over one meal, where Brydon and Coogan debate whether they would eat each other’s legs if they survived a plane crash in the Andes. With as charming a manner as ever, Coogan concluded that the only possible person with less appealing legs to eat than Rob would be Stephen Hawking.
A small number of fictional characters again inhabit the film, blurring the lines between the real lives of the two stars and a purely imaginary background produced for the film. In both the first film and this one I found the pseudo-reality is slightly irksome and would have been quite happy to learn more about the real Coogan and Brydon. In saying that the extra roles do inject a more serious note into the story, providing a hint that life is not all funny voices and quips, and that underneath runs a more sombre actuality.
Both men are again dealing with personal issues to do with their families and careers, and there is still the slight tension and almost tangible competitiveness between Coogan and Brydon. Character development has been made between the two films though, the Italian version of Coogan is no longer trying to conquer every woman he meets, and indeed he is keen to bond with his teenage son Joe (played by Timothy Leach) from whom he was estranged in the first film. Brydon on the other hand now appears disillusioned with life as a family man and new dad, and wanders slightly astray with a crew member on a sailboat called ‘Lucy’ (Rosie Fellner).
The Trip to Italy is lovely escapism, and will have you chortling in your seats. Winterbottom leaves us hanging slightly at end, perhaps creating the possiblity for a third Trip. I certainly hope so.
Rating: M Offensive language.
. o O ( FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM )