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TRIP TO ITALY, THE

SYNOPSIS:
Rob has been commissioned by a newspaper to go on a driving tour of Italy from Liguria to Capri, partly following in the footsteps of the great Romantic poets. He asks his old friend Steve to go with him. As they journey through the beautiful Italian countryside they talk about life, relationships and their careers whilst stopping at wonderful restaurants and hotels along the way. (2010 - The Trip)

Review by Louise Keller:
The scrumptious combo of good food, beautiful Italy and the unbridled wit of Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon makes this a compelling affair. Michael Winterbottom's sequel takes everything up a notch from his 2010 film The Trip, in which Coogan and Brydon brandished their wits and palates in the English Lakes district. In The Trip to Italy everything soars - the improvised patter, the left of field humour, the lunacy of the movie star improvisations and the combative, easy relationship between the two men. And needless to say, it all sits rather well on a textured tapestry for the senses, with cuisine you can almost taste and Italian vistas to die for.

It's a buddy movie, a road trip, a gastronomic display and a travelogue, with the film relying on the appeal of the charismatic Coogan and the sometimes insufferable but engaging Brydon as they banter and quip non-stop in an acceleration of energetic joie de vivre. The premise is simple - they have been invited to review six restaurants in different parts of Italy: in the verdant vineyards of Tuscany, the dazzling Italian Riviera, the bustling streets of Rome and the spectacular Amalfi Coast and its island jewel of Capri.

They talk about life, movies, music, poets, infidelity, careers, family and engage in amusing impressions of Michael Caine, Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Hugh Grant, Tom Hardy, Dustin Hoffman and Christian Bale. Listen for the impression of Humphrey Bogart without teeth (after an accident while shooting Beat the Devil in 1953); it's a doozy and takes place when they are sitting on the so-called Terrace of Infinity where Bogart, John Huston, and Gina Lollobrigida had frequented. In a coda to the references for Wordsworth and Coleridge in the earlier film, the men also follow in the steps of poets Shelly and Byron.

As for the gastronomy, the camera goes from the kitchen to the table, where tantalising vegetables, game, meatballs, seafood, ravioli, pasta and more pasta is served. No, the Aitkins diet is not an option in Italy. The conversation meanders, side-tracks, makes sharp U-turns and speeds along a communication runway with no restrictions. The infidelity baton is passed to the married Brydon this time, while Coogan deals with issues concerning his estranged wife and 16 year old son. The mode of travel is a black convertible mini, an elegant yacht called Patience and other small boats. Wait for the scene in which Brydon converses with a lava-embalmed corpse in Pompei. It's an insane double act you will not forget.

And as for the vistas of the Amalfi coast where the bluest of blue oceans sparkles under clear skies and the horizon fades into forever.... it is soul-food and worth seeing for that alone.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

TRIP TO ITALY, THE (M)
(UK, 2013)

CAST: Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon, Rosie Fellner

PRODUCER: Melissa Parmenter, Michael Winterbottom

DIRECTOR: Michael Winterbottom

SCRIPT: Rob Bryden

CINEMATOGRAPHER: James Clarke

EDITOR: Mags Arnold, Paul Monaghan, Marc Richardson

MUSIC: -

PRODUCTION DESIGN: -

RUNNING TIME: 115 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Madman

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 29, 2014







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