The-Trip-TO-Italy-Poster-518x740During the six years (and just getting started!) of this site and my part in its thousand-odd reviews, I can’t remember ever describing a movie as perfect. Every scene, every shot, every performance, every line — perfect. Until now. Michael Winterbottom and his two stars whip up (or actually, cut down: the feature is a reworking of Season Two of their tv series) what tastes like a light, frothy soufflé — even as, amid all the joking around (and the jokes are nonstop, from start to finish), there’s a meat and potatoes theme. The beating heart of the movie — is death. Issues of mortality. How will I be remembered after I die? Will I be remembered? What does it matter? Because Steve and Rob are in the land of Byron and Shelley, with attendant visits to graveyards and memorial plaques amid other, too-many-to-mention drop-dead Italian settings, the musings seem natural. But always a-musing. No, funnier than that. I started laughing out loud before a minute was up and it just kept on. For starters, there are double the impersonations as the first one. The sequel’s “Michael Caine” moment is probably the comparisons of Tom Hardy and Christian Bale’s separate unintelligibility in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. But there is so much more. Al Pacino runs rampant. Hugh Grant stammers. Even Bogie comes up. And then there are those dramatic touches, so deftly handled you never think, oh, the movie just got “serious”. But it still manages to show us intimacies (Brydon’s slightly strained relationship with his wife, Coogan’s achingly well-acted love for his teenage son) in that — here comes the word again — perfect way, when “acting” and “script” seem to disappear. — Jeff Schultz

Steve and Rob are back. The jokes are back. The impersonations are back. It is THE TRIP redux, only this time it is THE TRIP TO ITALY. If you haven’t seen the first movie, why haven’t you? It’s amazing. Funny, sweet, poignant. Both are based on BBC series of the same names. In THE TRIP Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon go to northern England to sample the cuisine so Steve can write an article for the Guardian. This time, Rob has convinced them to shell out for a similar adventure in Italy. The story is very similar, but the roles are seemingly reversed. In THE TRIP, Steve seems untethered, like he is having a midlife crisis. His relationship with his girlfriend is on the rocks and he has a dicey relationship with his son. Rob is grounded. In love with his wife and their newly born daughter. This time Steve seems positively stable. No real relationship issues, his son confides in him about his mother treating him like a child. Rob is at sea. His phone conversations with his wife are short and she seems uninterested. So it’s Rob that strays in this film. The focus in the first film is Steve. Rob is more the centerpiece of this film. That makes it different, but no less wonderful thanks to the talents of Coogan and Brydon and the marvelous director Michael Winterbottom. If you are unsure about the film, just go see it for the scenery. Italy is absolutely gorgeous and Winterbottom is painting a love story to the countryside. The pair listen to Alanis Morrissette while driving across Italy. Initially I thought “really”? But it works with Rob’s melancholy. This sequel is totally worth the trip. — Alan Yudman

One thought on “THE TRIP TO ITALY

  1. Pingback: THE TRIP TO SPAIN | Hollywood And Whine

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