Combining mouth-watering fine dining, exotic Italian milieus and the affable charms of comedic duo, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon (both slightly fictionalised), A Trip to Italy is an absolute winner, regardless of its simplistic and cyclic presentation.
Following the part mockumentary, part buddy comedy, part road trip formula that made 2010’s The Trip a sleeper hit, director Michael Winterbottom’s sequel invites audiences to once again sit alongside the zany and hilarious exaggerations of these two loveable twats. As the two drink and eat their way through Italy, Winterbottom does an exceptional job of inviting the audience to join the table, allowing us all to partake in the shenanigans while the stars get to enjoy the finer tastes and sights of life.
While there is no tangible or noteworthy narrative to write of, and the film is essentially a cinematic restaurant hop, it does daringly position these actors as broken and flawed individuals in amongst all the humour. When the banter, riffing and outrageous impersonations subside for a second, Coogan and Brydon make mention of their failed marriages, adulterous behaviours and absent parenting. The inclusion of these matters of substance give necessary weight to the proceedings and help to affirm the natural tone the film strives for.
While the food and location porn might make your mouth and eyes water jealous envy, the film’s crowning achievement is the chemistry and charisma that easily radiates from the two. That and their impersonations. Whether it’s Michael Caine promising to “never bury another Batman”, or Roger Moore screaming out “Move!” repeatedly in a very public setting, the film achieves much of its humour from just how talented these two are spoofing their cinematic heroes and contemporaries. It’s repetitive but never tiring.
Filled with bowls of British wit and entertaining merriment, A Trip to Italy is an acquired taste, but for many, it is just the kind of vacation and experience we all can only dream to partake in. Those lucky buggers.