If there are two things you can rely on Italy to do well, it’s food and scenery. Michael Winterbottom’s THE TRIP TO ITALY has both in abundance, along with some important fundamentals of performing a Roger Moore impression.
Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon return to the fictionalized characterisations of themselves after 2010’s THE TRIP. The set up is the same – British newspaper The Observer have asked family man with British TV career and compulsive celebrity impressionist Rob to write another series of columns about travelling through Liguria, Tuscany, Rome, Amalfi, Capri and Sicily, sampling food from select fine restaurants along the way. He invites slightly competitive friend, divorcee and ex-pat now based in Hollywood Steve along for the journey, and they ramble on together.
Once again the pair brilliantly work the semi-improvised set-ups, sparking off of each other as well as they ever have. Beneath all of
the barbs and one-upmanship - a sort-of-ODD COUPLE façade - there’s real friendship, and
seeing them genuinely make each other laugh are some of the high points of the
film (that, and an 'Anthony Hopkins as Bligh in THE BOUNTY' impression on a yacht). There’s just the barest imposition of plot, mostly addressing the
crossing trajectories of each character’s personal and professional circumstances
(vague, but I’m not about to give away what little actual storyline there is),
safe to say that the groundwork has been laid for a third film/series.
Having seen both versions, the six part television series (one region per episode, which equates to an extra hour of material) is probably the more comfortable fit for their story than two straight hours, but seeing those gorgeous views of the Italian countryside is obviously a big tick in the ‘pro’ column for seeing this in cinemas. Or of course, just watch both.
THE TRIP TO ITALY is released April 25 in the UK, and May 29 in Australia.