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Review: Coogan and Brydon chat and chew anew in ‘The Trip to Italy’

The Trip to Italy

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The Trip to Italy finds Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon once again playing with their food. That is to say exchanging banter as they play versions of themselves on a trip around Italy to eat in six different places in the culinarily famed country and write about the experience afterwards. The duo’s latest chat and chew comedy arrives in select theaters on Aug. 29.

Rob Bryden and Steve Coogan in The Trip to Italy
Rob Bryden and Steve Coogan in The Trip to ItalyCourtesy of: IFC Films

If chatty movies aren’t your cup of tea, The Trip to Italy is not the film for you. The 108 minute affair lives and dies by the witty exchanges that pass between its leads as they dine on all manner of fine Italian cuisine. More often than not their chatter is humorous and engaging, even if a bit dated feeling at times. Long discussions of Christian Bale and Tom Hardy’s vocal choices in The Dark Knight Rises and banter about Alanis Morrisette feel less than fresh. Still, despite moments where the conversation feels more like a punch line than a jovial chat –– wouldn’t two such good friends wouldn’t have discussed Alanis long ago in her heyday, and moved on to snark about other things? –– there are amusing insights and riffs a plenty, and a certain sense of ease and comfort that comes from reuniting with these best pals.

Amidst all of the impressions, repartee and quieter, self-reflective moments there are even little jibes to be found at the film’s own expense. Quite early on, Steve and Rob have a hearty discussion about the merits of sequels, which of course is what most sequels that lean heavily on wit must do in today’s landscape. Something that it feels as if Coogan and Brydon are winking at a bit, even as they go there themselves.

Those who enjoyed Richard Linklater’s Sunset trilogy, but could do with a bit more lighthearted of a turn will find plenty to love about this film.