Second Helping


The Trip to Italy

by George Wolf


Yes, they do the Michael Caine bit again.

If this news brings a knowing smile to your face, you’ll have a fine time taking The Trip to Italy.

For the uninitiated, the “bit” involves Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon trying to one-up each other in a hilarious battle of Michael Caine impressions. It was a highlight of the 2011 film The Trip, which chronicled their travels to some of the finer restaurants of Northern England. Playing fictionalized versions of themselves, they engaged in joyously witty banter during a stint as food critics for the UK paper The Observer.

As you might guess from its title, the sequel takes the pair on a similar assignment in Italy, where they try to keep tabs on their respective acting careers while enjoying the picturesque locales and tempting cuisine of the region. And, of course, bickering about everything from Alanis Morrisette’s music to Jude Law’s hair.

Director Michael Winterbottom is back at the helm, with good instincts for what this film needs to equal, and often better, the first go round. The simple novelty of the premise may be gone, but there is a subtle deepening of character development, and an all-around breezy warmth that is contagious.

But, those are just tasty side dishes supporting the main course:  two likable chaps given plenty of room to match razor-sharp wits. They display a wonderful chemistry, and complete command over the process of turning droll, deadpan humor into some uproarious moments.

Sporting plenty of laughter, wonderful scenery and delectable looking dishes, don’t be shocked if you leave The Trip to Italy with an urge to call your travel agent.





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