The Trip to Italy

Sep 17, 2014

Witty traveling companions, lush scenery, terrific food--this film has it all.

The Trip to Italy

Grade: A-

Director: Michael Winterbottom (Jude)

Screenplay: Winterbottom

Cast: Steve Coogan (The Trip), Rob Brydon (The Trip)

Rating: NR

Runtime: 108 min.

by John DeSando

Two great talkers will not travel far together.” George Borrow

Well, Mr. Borrow, I can prove you wrong if you see The Trip to Italy.

How bad can a film be that centers on two great talkers traveling by convertible Mini-Cooper and eating at high-rise, seaside restaurants on the coast of Italy? Not bad at all as evidenced by The Trip to Italy, the second in road trips starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon; the first was to the Lake District of England.

Besides the seductive ambience, these two close friends in real life have a grand time spitting out their wits in impressions (e.g., Bale, Brando, Caine, De Niro, Grant, Hardy, Hoffman, Pacino) and literary references (e.g., Byron and Shelley). Although such panoply could smack of the pedantic, the blokes are genuinely in love with pop cult and literature and naturals at the screwball repartee (Sideways is not even close to their wit).

Simple jokes come off like the countryside, warm and inviting: “Volatile women are always sexy when you first meet them but two years down the line you're sorta saying things like, 'can you just put the lids back on eh... on these jars please’.” (Steve)

If all Steve and Rob do is exchange witticisms, impressions, and an occasional rumination on more serious matters such as death, with the ease and aplomb you would expect of famous comedians, then what does the film offer the serious moviegoer? Lush scenery, delicious food, and two very witty guys at the top of their game. Now I’m going back to their Trip to catch more witticisms, and I’ll look forward to their possible journey through France or Spain.

All that for $10 and no reclining airplane seats.

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at