The Trip to Italy

The Trip to Italy

Postby CAP » Tue Jun 10, 2014 2:21 pm

This is the movie version, distilling down the six-part BBC TV series, following the template laid out by the original The Trip (series and feature) in 2010. Four years on, Coogan and Brydon tour the Italian coast from Liguria to Capri, taking in more fine restaurants, the course of Shelley and Byron’s travels – bit of culture, there, just so as you’ll respect them in the morning - celebrity impersonations naturally and a little private angst. I know a lot of people prefer this to the original, but there was something a little pricklier and pathetic about the first one, that I found more engaging. I think a lot of it has to do with the shift of focus onto Brydon in this one and a certain politeness about the food. After a while they’re not even saying much about the food at all, we just get frantic shots of kitchens and meal preparation, like any cooking show. At the very least they might have fitted in a quick cameo of Gordon and Nigella going at it in a pantry or something. :P

You sort of wait/hope for them to just resort to a takeaway pizza or a burger somewhere, sitting in their little convertible Mini Cooper in a lay-by, making up some hilarious banquet they can’t be bothered actually attending somewhere. But they don’t even stray that far from the formula. Then there’s the whole stoking of middle-aged men’s libidos bit with an improbable fling for Brydon with the lovely Lucy (Rosie Fellner) a shapely young British crew member aboard an old ketch they charter around the Gulf of Spezia, where Shelley drowned. Desperate impressions of Hugh Grant the next morning can’t cover the creaking ingenuities here. I just felt embarrassed.

From there on, Brydon only gets oilier and more ingratiating. Coogan seems to be just walking through this one. Maybe he felt he’d done enough in the first one, where he was more the focus, but at least he gets to bond a little more with his teenage son, Tom, so he’s probably slightly the happier of the two this time. Brydon just gets to bitch about him and discreetly arrange another date with Lucy, while dutifully phoning home, inquiring after the kids. The impressions come thick and fast of course, there’s the usual suspects, Michael Caine, Roger Moore, Al Pacino, Woody Allen, Marlon Brando, although I thought Brydon’s Parkinson not quite there, surprisingly – would have been interesting to have heard Coogan have a shot at the crusty Yorkie – or better - at Jeremy Clarkson. Coogan doing Clarkson would have been mint, particularly when he was driving the Mini Cooper. A highlight was Brydon’s Gore Vidal – a little more obscure perhaps but so on the money. Are there male impressionists who do female impressions? I was thinking about this afterwards, and could only recall John Sessions’ Margaret Thatcher – a benchmark for the 80s really, but since? Anyone?

Anyway this one shuffles through some gorgeous scenery, some elegant long lens tilts and pans along meandering little coastal roads and the tour gracefully draws to a close, pretty much when the impressions dry up, the cosiness grows cloying. I give it 6 but expecting a bit more story from Winterbottom next time round.
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Re: The Trip to Italy

Postby NYC_Correspondent-tm » Sat Feb 07, 2015 8:41 pm

Mostly agree with your assessment. I liked the first better as well. There was more depth, even if that depth was a bit more sad. But Brydon was great at times, even if the focus on him got a bit tedious. Clearly he was going through restlessness that he might have thought left behind in his settling down with wife and baby. Coogan was now much more the settled man, with himself if not circumstantially. But the small man in a box at Pompeii was fantastic. Coogan's facial expressions in response were subtle and effective. And so was injecting Alanis Morisette into their drive, absurd as it was, and further reflecting their generational movement. Still, the impressions were again amazing, and so was the banter. Enough to look forward to more.
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