“Trip to Italy” a Delicious Lightweight Comedy
By Skip Sheffield
Take two bright British comedians, give them an unlimited expense account, send them to the most beautiful parts of Italy and let the camera run.
That’s pretty much the total premise of “The Trip to Italy,” starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon.
“Italy” is actually a sequel to Michael Winterbottom’s largely-improvised 2010 film, “The Trip.” On that adventure, Coogan and Brydon made a culinary tour of northern England.
Obviously Italy is a lot more appealing visually and gastronomically, and thereby lies the charm of “Trip to Italy.”
The premise is a follow-up to the English tour with added literary references. Steve and Rob will visit the places where famous British expatriate romantic poets lived, worked and died. We are talking Byron, Coleridge, Keats and Shelley. Of these only Samuel Taylor Coleridge lived to what could be called a mature age (61). George Gordon Lord Byron died at 36. Percy Bysshe Shelley made it to 29. John Keats tragically died at age 25.
But “Trip to Italy” is not about death. It is about the good life in world-class resorts, eating wonderful Italian food and being dazzled by exquisitely beautiful scenery. Oh, and it is about laughter. Both Coogan and Brydon are funny, witty performers, adept at improvisation. Brydon is a particularly good mimic and impressionist. In the course of travel Brydon imitates Woody Allen, Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Gore Vidal, Clint Eastwood and more. The guys will talk of such weighty matters as death and the life of Casanova. They do not analyze the food they are eating. The critical response is usually “Umm, good.”
I have been to Italy only once, when I was a lad of 21. I have wanted to return ever since. A treat for the senses, “Trip to Italy” urges me to do it again while I can.