- – by David Morgan-Brown
When a film’s approach to constructing and portraying its tale is as original, fresh, and unique as it was in The Trip, it’s not hard to not screw up the sequel. The Trip to Italy is more of the same, yet more is more or less what I wanted. This sequel is the logical continuation of the first, now set in the picture-esque areas of Italy.
Like its predecessor, this film is a condensed feature-length version of the TV series which will later be released. If the film’s objective was to persuade me to see the series to view this show in its complete entirety, then mission accomplished. It was a pleasure to be brought back to the presence of Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon (both actors playing something of a version of themselves) as they travel through the hidden country-sides of Italy and indulge in the food and drinks of remote restaurants as they comically philosophise over life, their careers, and compare celebrity accents.
Although this is a semi-improvisational comedy with little focus on story, there’s something of a cinematic quality and narrative to it. However, understatement is the success of this film. There is no dramatic conflict to overwhelm this nuanced comedy. Like the first film, it’s as carefully meandering and mild-mannered as life itself, and that’s what gives this film is authenticity, allowing for more direct contact with the audience than films that overdo the characters and story.
This sequel, like the original, proves to be one of the most realistic and true-to-life, down-to-earth movies to hit the cinemas without resorting to the ugly territories of cinema verite. It’s a delight to watch, not only for the Italian landscapes, sunsets, and meals, but especially for Coogan and Brydon’s crackerjack relationship, their hilarious banter, their dramatic moments alone, and their continuing analyses of Michael Caine’s voice.