Steve Coogan has been asked by The Observer to tour the country's finest restaurants, but after his girlfriend backs out on him he must take his best friend and source of eternal aggravation, Rob Brydon.
When famous DJ Alan Partridge's radio station is taken over by a new media conglomerate, it sets in motion a chain of events which see Alan having to work with the police to defuse a potentially violent siege.
Years after their successful restaurant review tour of Northern Britain, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are commissioned for a new tour in Italy. Once again, the two comedy buddies/rivals take the landscape as well as the cuisine of that country in a trip filled with witty repartee and personal insecurities. Along the way, their own professional and personal lives comes in as these slightly older men's friendship comes through.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
Steve's on-screen son, Joe, wears a The Big Bang Theory (2007) t-shirt that diagrams "Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock". See more »
Toward the end of the movie (33 minute to the end), they are showing and commenting about a fruit they call "kumquat" which is in fact a "Physalis" also called "Cape Gooseberry", a fruit originally from Chile and Peru. A Kumquat is like a miniature orange, which can be eaten whole, or used in making marmalade. It has a very sharp flavour. A physalis has a paper-like husk like a tomatillo and is very sweet when ripe. See more »
Mahler: Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen [Rückert-Lieder]
Written by Gustav Mahler
Performed by Violeta Urmana
Courtesy of Deutsche Grammophon
Under license from Universal Music Operations Limited See more »
If You Liked the First, You'll Like This One as Well
The Trip to Italy is a sequel to the little known, little seen 2010 film The Trip, which in itself is a highlight reel of a little known, little seen BBC miniseries of the same name. Each reiteration of this franchise, I guess you could call it, feels like the rotating lenses of a microscope, filling in more detail while getting ever smaller in scope and appeal. Who exactly is this movie for? I'm not quite sure but whoever is on its wavelength will probably have a ball.
The Trip to Italy revisits Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as they are once again conscripted by the London Observer to eat at and review multiple restaurants. This time instead of driving through the foggy moors of Northern England, the duo drive their rented Mini Cooper through the sunny coasts of Italy. While doing so they once again trade witty repartee, relight professional rivalries and whip out their best Michael Caine impressions.
Its basically the same setup as the first only the location and power dynamic between our two leads is a bit more interesting. Coogan's star seems to have taken a dip since the cancellation of his American TV series. Meanwhile the less misanthropic Brydon is being courted by director Michael Mann for a billed part in a crime drama. Insecurities and the specter of aging into obsolescence abounds in this sequel, and the Italian countryside and tales of the Romantics serve beautifully as a stark juxtaposition.
Director Michael Winterbottom takes every opportunity to indulge in the sun and scenic poetry of Italy. As the characters retrace the steps of the romantics, Winterbottom takes delight in lifting visual cues from mainstay international cinema such as the bumpy road trips of Il Sorpasso (1962), the luxurious schooners of Purple Noon (1960) and the general feeling of ennui from La Dolce Vita (1960). As the film wears on, the actors become entrenched in a background literally alive with history, unable to make their pithy comments take you out of the beauty (though it's not for lack of trying.
Yet the same things that bogged down The Trip from being the best version of itself are still purposely present in Trip to Italy. There are the same insufferably self-centered characters, the same conversations and improvisational impressions, the same inattention to the freaking food! Seriously, I realize that oafish behavior set against the truly beautiful is partially the point but how do you NOT make Italian food the center of attention? Thankfully the two surly actors have much more to interact with. Actresses Marta Barrio and Rosie Fellner actually show up to dinner instead of being relegated to bits of cellphone asides. Steve's son (as played by Timothy Leach) shows up as well allowing us to see how two middle-aged men in a perpetual existential crises handle being around a child for a few minutes.
Overall Trip to Italy is in my mind a smidgen better than its predecessor and only because it trades temperate gloom for Mediterranean sunniness. But if you're the type who finds the fields, fog and verdant bluffs of England more appealing then the opposite might be true for you. Regardless, your ability to take this trilogy (so far) is wholly dependent on your ability to stomach two actors winging-it while sitting across from one another. I personally found my patience eroding by the minute.
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