Get ready for seconds.
Although I’ve never seen it, I imagine The Trip to Italy to be a lot like My Dinner with Andre. The Trip to Italy has almost no plot (or the very bare minimum at best) except two men wandering the Italian countryside eating meals and talking. My understanding is that The Trip to Italy is a sequel to The Trip, a BBC series that was edited into a feature length film. Much like the first film, The Trip to Italy has also been edited down into a feature length film starring the original’s two stars, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, who play fictionalized versions of themselves. Although they aren’t really friends, the two get along well enough to spend a few weeks eating food together (by the request of their employers) and performing amusing impersonations of celebrities like Hugh Grant and Al Pacino.
How much you enjoy The Trip to Italy is going to depend solely on how much you enjoy watching two middle aged men pick up a conversation and run every which way with it. Their discussions wander all over the place, touching on everything from how to pronounce Alanis Morissette’s first name (is it A-LAN-is or Ah-lahn-is?) to aging (and the lack of dating that comes with it) to jogging on the beach with Owen Wilson. These aren’t the deepest of conversations, most of them ending with the twosome doing their own version of a Monty Python improv skit at the table. It’s a lot of silliness which either appeals to or repels you.
The Trip to Italy is a very funny film if you are ready for a film with a very British sense of humor. The comedy is often very dry (think of this as an overseas version of a Christopher Guest film, only with a smaller cast) with moments of wackiness. Take, for instance, a scene where Coogan and Brydon’s back-and-fourth about Michael Caine, Christian Bale, and The Dark Knight Rises made me gasp for air because I was laughing so hard. Coogan and Brydon are dry, personable guys who seem to really enjoy each other’s company (even if they pretend like they don’t); there’s no hiding chemistry, and both actors have it with each other in spades.
Part of the fun of The Trip to Italy is the contrast between the picturesque backdrops and the men’s silliness. The viewers see stunning Italian sunsets, scrumptious food being prepared by top chefs, and roiling countrysides that have to be seen to be believed. Combined with Coogan and Brydon’s sense of the absurd, A Trip to Italy is a destination that I highly recommend.
The Trip to Italy is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen in 1080p high definition. The film appears to have been filmed on digital video. The image is exceptionally clear without any major defects or imperfections marring the viewing. Colors are bright and cheerful and black levels are solid and dark. Overall, The Trip to Italy looks great. The soundtrack is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround in English. The soundtrack is often very lush with Italian operatic overtones playing over many scenes. the surround channels are often used for background ambient noises, especially when Rob and Steve are eating in the restaurants. Also included on this disc are English and Spanish subtitles, as well as a 2.0 Stereo mix in English.
The only extra feature are a few deleted scenes and a theatrical trailer for the film.
The Trip to Italy is two men being funny, and little else. I enjoyed the film enough to want to check out the first film, and IFC’s work on the transfer and soundtrack are very good. This is an easy recommendation if you’re a fan of BBC shows like The Office or Absolutely Fabulous.