The Trip to Italy – 2014
Four years ago, comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon delighted us with their classy, low-key, fine-dining escapades around Britain’s most eloquent and prestigious restaurants in “The Trip”.
The pair are back for another adventure, however this time, they’re abroad. “The Trip to Italy” sees Coogan and Brydon at it again, travelling across the stunning landscapes of Italy with the musical accompaniment of Alanis Morrissette and enjoying some of the finest Italian cuisine along the way.
Beginning almost exactly as the first did, with an invitational phone call, “The Trip to Italy” has an incredibly funny first act. Basically a continuation of the first, the film sees the comedic pair sat opposite one another with breathtakingly desirable meals being continuously served as they engage in some hysterical banter that mostly consists of uncanny impressions.
Revisiting what arguably made the first “Trip” as popular as it was, Brydon and Coogan’s Michael Caine impersonation gets another call up, whilst some new batman associated characters are thrown into the mix. This scene cannot be missed.
There are also some Pacino reappearances and a fantastic addition to the repertoire in Hugh Grant.
As previously mentioned, “The Trip to Italy”starts off almost perfectly. The laughs are frequent and the freshness of it all is fantastic. The new setting and the appropriate time frame between the original and sequel means it doesn’t feel rushed.
Amongst the fantastic on-screen chemistry that Coogan and Brydon share, in amongst the pop-culture referencing and multiple impressions, they mention (rather tongue-in-cheek) the dangers of a sequel. Being self aware of what they’re doing makes for some light hearted fun and some down to earth humour that doesn’t need to be taken seriously.
What was upsetting as the film went on was the gradual shift towards an actual plot; a plot of which didn’t really have many engaging qualities. Sure, it couldn’t possibly be 90 minutes of back and forth impressions (or could it……?), no, it requires substance. It just appears that the route they took was one that didn’t fulfil the potential “The Trip to Italy”had.
The major let down revolves around the choices of the two leads, particularly Brydon. For a fun loving comedy, “The Trip to Italy”takes some more serious turns, but not serious enough that the audience find themselves getting emotionally engaged. The original had some potent subplots that offered some moments of tenderness and sympathy amongst the talkative meal scenes, and this worked very well. “The Trip to Italy”attempts to include this once again, having a pleasant sub story that sees Coogan rekindle his relationship with his son, but they don’t have the same effect as the first.
The way that “The Trip” was initially aired was in the form of a short television series. Divided into week-by-week episodes, “The Trip” offered up a satisfying portion of some quality Coogan/Brydon banter that left us yearning the next course.
Seeing a full length feature in the similar, if not identical, style and structure tends to wear off after the hour mark. It all becomes a bit too much and you’re left thinking that you’d enjoy it the most by seeing it in portions.
“The Trip” was a fantastically unique entrée and the four years of looking over the menu, wondering what exactly would be plated up next generated some immense hunger and craving for more. When it was finally served, “The Trip to Italy”was a satisfying feed, but like a rather sizeable dish, when we finally finished, we were left happy and content, yet wishing it wasn’t as big a task to undertake.
If only we could doggy-bag the last third and enjoy it tomorrow…