The Trip to Italy a Recipe for Fun

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The Trip to Italy

This follow-up movie to 2010’s much acclaimed THE TRIP reunites Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, this time on a culinary tour of Italy at the request of Director Michael Winterbottom. One might call it a tour-de-farce.

What ensues is a hilarious road trip through the beautiful -- no, strike that -- gorgeous Italian countryside as they travel from place to place in their Mini Cooper convertible, dining in real restaurants. As they drive around Italy we are treated to hilarious banter (much of which I have to believe was improv) between the two, much as two best friends would on a long road trip together -- two very funny friends who also happen to do wonderful impersonations and spend a good time arguing back and forth over who can do what best.

The two even find a way to make talking about poets Byron and Shelley funny (which seems to be a sidebar here, as they are often seen visiting places they stayed, visited, and even buried). Rob recites Byron very well, but oddly enough he can’t in his own voice so does impersonations of famous actors reciting it.

I really enjoyed this movie, but am slightly torn by it too. Torn, because I liked it better more in the first half or so than towards the end. Not because there is anything bad in the latter half of the movie, it’s just that there is not much of anything different. The movie is pretty much a vehicle to hear the two banter and talk, look at the beautiful scenery, and briefly see the food they are eating in the different restaurants they visit. As they sit around the tables in each place, we get to see short scenes of the kitchens preparing the food followed by visuals of the dishes being served. All of the food looks exquisite and perfectly plated…and then there’s more of their humor.

At first I did not think there was going to be any plot at all, but as the movie rolls along we do see a thin one develop as we get glimpses into each actor’s life that is not as funny as we would think given their carefree attitudes. Steven, it appears, is divorced and misses being with his son. Rob is married but has a wife that really seems to have no time for him. We see a little of how they deal with this as the movie progresses, but it is still pretty much the same milieu of slightly melancholy at the end.

Don’t get me wrong. I found this movie very enjoyable, but It did get a little tedious. One can only take so many impersonations (I counted 12 that I knew of, but there were many others) no matter how funny. I liken it to smelling one cologne after another; after a few without and rest, the olfactory nerve becomes flooded and you don’t smell anything anymore. It was the same was here. I found myself towards the end hearing some very funny stuff and wondering why I wasn’t laughing. My funny bone was over taxed, I guess.

I know the movie was about them and their interactions, but I would have liked to have seen a little more of their life and the food. For me, the best part of the movie, even more than the laughter and the food, was the settings in which they dined and stayed. After watching this movie I more than ever want to take a journey to the wellspring from whence all Russos flowed.

Steve and Rob are two very likable guys, and the director filmed their travels beautifully, with alternating shots in the car from the front, back and sides as they drove so we could see much of the scenery. Restaurant scenes were shot as if we were at the table with them, at a table next to them, or at a table across the room.

There are a few scenes where the F-bomb is dropped, so you might want to consider that if language bothers you. But overall the language is not bad I anticipated. This is a nice movie to sit down with someone to watch so that you can talk about the food and the scenery as you listen to these two gifted actor-comedians try to one-up each other. That way you won’t find your mind wandering as I did from time to time.

Extras in this Blu Ray / DVD include deleted scenes and a trailer for the movie. The deleted scenes underlined what I was saying above. I counted perhaps 19 deleted scenes that seemed to be just more of what I saw in the film. They could have been put in and others taken out, and nothing would have been missed. A couple of the scenes seemed to be outtakes, and were very funny too.

As the old commercial used to say, “Try it, you’ll like it.”

4.0 / 5.0