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trip_to_italyTHE TRIP TO ITALY
Written and Directed by Michael Winterbottom
Starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon
Rob Brydon: Where do you stand on Michael Buble?

Steve Coogan: On his windpipe.

In 2010’s THE TRIP, writer/director, Michael Winterbottom, paired British actor/comedians, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon on a road trip through Northern England. They played versions of themselves and in this slightly altered reality, Brydon was a last minute replacement for Coogan’s estranged girlfriend on said road trip, which was basically research for a series of articles Coogan had been hired to write on the local cuisine. Known for their quick wit and uncanny impressions, these colleagues traverses the English countryside and attempted not to kill each other along the way. As funny as that film is, the awkwardness between the two men can make you feel like you weren’t along for the ride at times. Well, Coogan and Brydon have re-teamed for another week of dining and bickering and Michael Caine impressions, but something is different. This time it seems like they might actually be friends.


In THE TRIP TO ITALY, it is Brydon who has been asked to do the writing and therefore Brydon who asks Coogan to join him on his trip. Although not playing themselves exactly, they do still take elements from their lives and incorporate them into the story. Here, it seems that Brydon’s star has risen some since their first journey, a serious point of contention in the first film. Coogan isn’t doing so badly either, of course, but he was far ahead of Brydon last time out and he let him know it frequently. Now that they’re on more level footing, their mood has chilled considerably. The shift in tone makes for a much more pleasant trip, which in turn allows their incredibly comical banter to reach new heights of hilarity. Some of their humour may not be the most topical (Alanis Morissette? THE DARK KNIGHT RISES?) but that is one of the beautiful things about what happens when these two get to talking; their shared knowledge stretches far past popular culture to philosophy and history and literature. You may almost feel like you’re learning something or being challenged to think about life, but you’ll be having far too much fun laughing for that to be true.


THE TRIP TO ITALY, again written and directed by Winterbottom, is no less sharp or biting than its predecessor, but it is a more relaxed experience. Without any animosity between them, it’s almost as if Coogan and Brydon want to be there, which of course makes the audience feel the same way. Naturally, it doesn’t hurt that they are taking this trip through scenic Italy. Actually, to call it scenic is a great understatement. The views are often so spectacular, I swear I almost felt the heat coming off the screen. And the food! Everything they ate looked delectable, which reminds me, do not see this film hungry. Everything comes together so perfectly in THE TRIP TO ITALY; it is the most unlikely and most enjoyable comedy I’ve seen this summer. You simply won’t want this trip to end.

4.5 sheep

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