Tag Archives: The Trip to Italy

Wooden Shoes and Risky Romance


by Hope Madden

If the movies have taught me one thing this year, it’s that – regardless of the date on your birth certificate – you can come of age in Europe. That’s right, whether you are crusty oldsters on a trip through Iceland (Land Ho!) or fiftysomethings eating your way through Italy (The Trip to Italy), or an American asshole approaching 30 and seeking family in Copenhagen, no matter. As long as you’re a guy still holding on to an age that doesn’t suit you, you can turn that page with a European vacation. Just ask William (that American asshole).

Left stranded in Copenhagen after a guys’ trip picked up a third wheel (his best friend’s girlfriend), William (Gethin Anthony) tries to track down the Danish grandfather he never met. He somehow lands the assistance of a cute Danish waitress (Frederikke Dahl Hansen).

Her plucky resolve to solve the mystery of William’s grandfather fuels the exotic vacation romance by first time feature filmmaker Mark Raso, who proves as adept behind the camera as he is with a pen.

His setting is unerringly lovely – exactly the romantic backdrop where a lost soul could be redeemed by young love. Unless it’s William, and the love is really, really young.

Raso explores some taboo territory, but exploitation is not his aim (thank God). Though he dances with the tension of temptation throughout the film, Raso never loses sight of his characters’ humanity and it’s the human interaction that gives the film more than the simple allure of forbidden fruit.

It helps that Dahl Hansen turns in such a naturalistic and lovely performance as the youngster who has so smitten the douchey American. As his arrested adolescence crashes headlong into her actual adolescence, Dahl Hansen never loses her own character, never becomes simply the object of male fantasy. It’s a thoughtful, restrained performance that is the reason the film succeeds.

Not that Anthony’s turn is weak. On the contrary, it’s fascinatingly repellant. Kudos to Anthony and Raso alike for ignoring the temptation to make William more likeable. Anthony’s performance is never entirely genuine except in predatory flashes and you are never absolutely certain how things will resolve themselves. It’s an uncommon image for a protagonist, and it keeps the audience uneasy all the way through.

Copenhagen offers a simple story, exquisitely filmed and well performed. Will William grow up while traveling abroad?

He has a better chance there than in Vegas, I guess.


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.