Coogan and Brydon, this time on The Trip to Italy

by Mark Burger

Director Michael Winterbottom has reteamed with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon for The Trip to Italy, a follow-up to The Trip (2010). Like the earlier film, this one was condensed from an English comedy series in which Coogan and Brydon play themselves (sort of). As the title implies, this time they’re off to Italy for a change of scenery and another tour of the region’s finest restaurants.

With Alanis Morissette’s debut album cranked on the rental-car speakers, Steve and Rob cruise through the countryside in amiably rambling fashion, discussing Lord Byron and Percy Shelley, savoring mouthwatering delicacies at every stop and (mostly) talking about themselves.

Naturally, both actors’ penchants for celebrity impressions is trotted out again, including their peerless impersonations of Michael Caine and Sean Connery, though Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan and Robert De Niro seem to elude them. However, they successfully add Hugh Grant and Anthony Hopkins to their repertoire.

Like the earlier film, there isn’t much narrative structure “” nor is one much required. The change of scenery allows for some picturesque views of Italy, and the easy chemistry shared by Coogan and Brydon is nothing if not ingratiating. There’s even an early, and very amusing, observation made by Coogan that this current trip might not measure up to the earlier one, because sequels tend not to measure up to the original. (Wonder where he got that idea?) Quite literally, in the case of The Trip to Italy, it’s more of the same. Therefore, those who liked the first Trip, which, obviously, people did, the second’s not much different aside from the change of locale.

The Trip to Italy is scheduled to open Friday !