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'The Trip To Italy' never forces the comedy and that's why it's so funny

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The Trip to Italy

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Sometimes it is those simple moments where the magic comes from. Comedy doesn't have to be convoluted or overly involved, it can just be a simple conversation while driving down the highway or talking over dinner that can produce comic gold. "The Trip To Italy" improves on the original road trip formula from the first film as the comedy is easier, freer and more refined as they explore the better restaurants that Italy has to offer and we get even more and more layers to the friendship between Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon.

The boys (Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon) are hitting the road once again to embark on a new culinary road trip as they retrace the steps of the Romantic poets grand tour of Italy as the brilliant banter and the nonstop impersonations pick up exactly where they left off from their first outing as they debate the historical merit of Alanis Morissette's "Jagged Little Pill", the vocal range of Batman and his enemies as well as the very nature of the sequel.

It is so rare for the sequel to anything to surpass the original, but lo and behold there it is as "The Trip To Italy" doesn't miss a beat from the original film giving us some epic banter and back and forth to enjoy.

I'm the first to admit that this isn't one of those movies that is about anything but if you can embrace the magic of the journey, then that is when the good stuff comes out. Written and Directed once again by Michael Winterbottom we dispense with any unnecessary setup and condense it all down into a single phone call. He shoots the hell out of the film as we get lost in the romanticism of the countryside as these men re-embrace their friendship and just riff back and forth like old friends do. We aren't in a narrative that is being driven to a goal and really the only mission is to have fun.

Basically it plays out as one of the funnier home videos or travel logs that has ever been made thanks to the magnetic charisma of the two stars. While Winterbottom is listed as writer you have to believe that both Coogan and Brydon got free reign to do whatever they pleased. Improvisational banter on display here is just first rate, no doubt Winterbottom gave them a topic but just let them both soar. In the first film (or original mini-series as it were) there were moments that felt unnatural and even a little forced, but being outside of their home country allowed these two guys to soar as they waxed poetic on a hilarious number of topics, keeping the banter natural and organic never feeling like that they were doing a bit, it was just two buddies on vacation.

"The Trip To Italy" is simply comedy gold, because we never for one minute feel like that they are trying to make us laugh. We are just a fly on the wall, getting the pure visceral experience of two friends just having a blast while in each other's company.

4 out of 5 stars.

"The Trip To Italy" is now playing, please check with listings for show times.

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