Gourmet Leftovers

The Trip to Italy
(UK, 108 min.)
Written and directed by Michael Winterbottom
Starring: Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon
Steve Coogan & Rob Brydon - courtesy of eOne Films.

Sequels usually taste like reheated meals. Grab the leftovers of something decent, throw them in the microwave, and zap, zap, zap, a movie recycles itself for another helping.

Even die-hard foodies, however, probably admit that leftovers aren’t always a bad thing. Sometimes the flavour improves after the food marinates in its own juices overnight. Other times, though, the food tastes the same as it did the night before and that’s just fine for the diner.

Michael Winterbottom’s The Trip to Italy is essentially a microwaved movie as it offers another serving of the Steve Coogan/Rob Brydon gourmet The Trip, sets it in Italy, and cooks a few noodles. The Trip to Italy is more of the same, but that’s hardly a bad thing. The mood is merry and the food looks scrumptious, so this road movie is still pretty scrumptious. The Trip to Italy is gourmet leftovers.

The wily Coogan and the affable Brydon reunite for another tour of comedic food criticism when Brydon accepts an offer to tour Italy for a week and enjoy meals in Liguria, Tuscany, Rome, Amalfi and Capri. The Trip to Italy takes The Trip’s recipe of offering plate upon plate of mouth-watering scenery (the food looks even better this time, though) and serving it with a side of droll humour as Coogan and Brydon talk utter nonsense throughout a week’s worth of meals. Expect more convivial comedy as they compete with voice impressions—Michael Caine, Tom Hardy, and all the James Bonds are roasted particularly well—and receive another visit from the Small Man in a Box. Brydon voices Small Man from the cast of a body from Pompeii this time, which is conveniently a legit man in a box, so the joke’s extra funny for the overall tastelessness of it.
The Trip to Italy drags out many of the sketches far too long, though, for Coogan and Brydon gab about bullshit for an eternity in some scenes while the celebrity imitations sometimes go on for what feels like an eternity. The Trip to Italy doesn’t really have enough meat on its plate to justify its existence, but it tastes good enough while the getting’s good. Tuck in and enjoy, especially with some popcorn to satisfy the inevitable hunger pangs.

Rating: ★★★ (out of ★★★★★)

The Trip to Italy screens in Ottawa at The ByTowne until Sept. 4 and again from Oct. 17-19.