Rob: Rob Brydon
Lucy: Rosie Fellner
Emma: Claire Keelan
Joe (Steve’s Son): Timothy Leach
IFC Films presents a film written and directed by Michael Winterbottom. Running time: 108 min. Not Rated.
“The Trip To Italy” might be the most unlikely sequel of the year. It follows the 2010 movie “The Trip”, which saw British comedians Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan playing fictitious versions of themselves. When Brydon takes a job writing a food/travelogue column for a magazine visiting restaurants throughout England, he invites his friend Coogan along with him and they spend the time joking, doing impersonations, eating good food and making poor moral choices. Critics lauded the film, however, I felt it was a little uneven, couldn’t decide what it really wanted to be, and dragged a little too much to keep me interested.
Now, we get “The Trip To Italy” which sees the exact same premise, this time in Italy. While the structure and purpose are pretty much the same, it seems the filmmakers are a little more confident and relaxed this time around, resulting in a more effective movie. Once again Brydon and Coogan throw a slew of impersonations at their food presentations trying to one up each other with their impression accuracy, but that is just the hook for this movie. What works this time around are the spaces between the meals and impersonations.
Brydon has a tryst with a shipmate from one of their excursions. Coogan explores his relationship with his son (his fictitious version of a son). Once again Coogan plays himself as more of an ass than he likely is in life. Brydon just seems a little lost this time, perhaps because his character really didn’t have enough to do the first time around and now he’s faced with an adulterous rendezvous that he enters into simply because the opportunity exists.
Perhaps one of the best moments is one of the light ones. They are visiting Pompeii and Brydon improvises a conversation with the fossilized corpse of one of the victims of that tragedy. Another good moment comes in the form of a dream in which Brydon and Coogan reenact a scene from “The Godfather”. Everything seems a little more free this time around, and yet it has more apparent structure too it. The dream sequence is a good example. It comes out of nowhere, but it actually shapes their impersonations into something more than just fooling around with their voices in a conversation.