The Trip To Italy
The Short-In the sequel to the 2010 comedy Director Michael Winterbottom reaches a little bit higher for story, and plot, as well as the charm that made the first Trip so memorable. A beautifully shot comedy that lets both actors delve a bit deeper into character while enjoying all Italy has to offer. Go for the impressions and stay for a wonderfully directed film about coming to terms with your life and talents.
In 2010's The Trip, in lieu of an actual script Michael Winterbottom let both his actors’ improv the entire film. The Trip to Italy is a much more scripted affair, with a steady stream of what made the first film memorable but less food shots and more Italian scenery that will have you looking up the price of airfare once the credits roll. Like its predecessor The Trip to Italy knows the talent onscreen is the reason why we are here and they don't disappoint. Both actors (who are playing exaggerated versions of themselves) dig a little deeper where Coogan was the cocky, womanizer in the first film Brydon has taken the mantle when he meets a beautiful young brit onboard an Italian boat tour. Coogan on the other hand has quit drinking, no longer mentions his former American flame and thanks to the failure of his show is found a bit more humble (this is a world where his recent Oscar nomination does not exist or has yet to occur). Together they are a hysterically funny duo who hit the impressions in stride and while only one or two of those scenes are a little overdone most of the comedy is fresh.
The most important aspect for me when making a comedy sequel is that it needs to take effort to make people laugh, you may be able to get away with a lack of creativity a little but if a whole movie is just recycled jokes then it’s not worth my time(ahem I'm looking at you Hangover sequels). Luckily updated jokes, creative call backs and only one scene of me saying "ok move on", leads to a very successful sequel for Winterbottom and company, The jokes are just as creative and Coogan and Brydon get plenty of time to play off each other. They rely on similar impressions but the two are so good at making it less about the impression and more about picking each other apart it never gets all that old.
If you go to see The Trip to Italy for Coogan, Brydon, and the impressions then you stay for the wonderful scenery and food shots that will leave you wanting to update your passport and settle in for a long authentic Italian dinner. The food sequences may have been more memorable in The Trip they take a back seat to the scenery, and the story. More time is spent on Brydon, especially as he picks up a girl and gets an interesting career opportunity. The first film was more about the impressions and the food while the sequel puts a much more human spin on it. You enjoy the sights and sounds but you also have these two men attempting to live with the loneliness they are feeling as well as live with and in some cases attempt to justify their transgressions. Winterbottom for the most part keeps the film moving forward and thanks to the performance from his leads nearly everything in The Trip to Italy is better from the original.