The Trip to Italy – 4 stars
Michael Winterbottom’s The Trip was a charming buddy flick/travelogue through the north of Britain, though these buddies (Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon) are British comedians and master impersonators (I still can’t decide who does the best Michael Caine). I couldn’t imagine the first film lending itself to a sequel. I was wrong. The Trip to Italy is derived from a TV show on BBC Two, like the first film, and it is every bit as funny. Though the banter of Coogan and Brydon is a tad staler, what comes through in their uncanny ability to riff is a deep affection, all set in the beauty of Italy from Liguria to Rome to Capri to Naples. Winterbottom also grounds the characters with occasional but insightful reference to their domestic lives.
I confess I laughed much harder than my wife, which reminded me of a funny scene from Knocked Up.
The back and forth between Coogan and Brydon is only a bit more highbrow, but what they are engaging in is not so much conversation as a mixture of shit-giving, competition, and entertainment comprised of variations on old themes and bits. Their discourse eschews any quiet moment, rejects a detour into anything serious, is decidedly male and, I suspect, has a very short shelf life for females, who, let’s face it, are more highly evolved.
Still, this is funny shit . . .