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'The Trip to Italy' review: Equal parts British wit, food porn & Italian vistas

The Trip to Italy

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Although very reminiscent of its predecessor, "The Trip to Italy" remains every bit as fun, charming and engaging as the 2011 original.

'The Trip to Italy' / IFC Films
IFC Films

In short: Actors Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon (playing fictionalized versions of themselves) reunite for another restaurant road tour, this time across the Italian countryside.

Watch the full-length trailer for "The Trip to Italy"

Ostensibly, this sequel is yet another road trip film following the two comedians as they trade witty barbs and perform impromptu celebrity impressions in restaurants across the Tuscan countryside. Every second of these comedic elements are brilliantly hilarious - the sharply-timed comedic jabs and banter between these friends feel unscripted and improvisational in the best way possible.

But beneath this buddy road trip comedy veneer is a darker narrative of two men whose careers are increasingly isolating them from their families. This thread adds an unexpected dimension to the film and increases the overall character stakes as these two men make subtle life-changing decisions while on their silly Italian road trip.

In many ways, "The Trip to Italy" is incredibly similar to "The Trip." There's still little in the way of structural narrative - Coogan and Brydon simply jump into a car and hopscotch from restaurant to restaurant, sampling cuisines and relentlessly ribbing each other. This sequel doesn't feel like a retread because it doubles down on the incredible chemistry between Coogan and Brydon - and the intoxicating Italian backdrop doesn't hurt either. This amusing and entertaining movie really does feel like a leisurely, relaxing and slightly intoxicating road trip with friends.

Final verdict: "The Trip to Italy" is a delightfully charming and surprisingly dramatic slice of life - a film that beautifully captures the banter and relationship between two men as they tour Italy. This is the incredibly rare sequel that, although admittedly very similar to the original, manages the miracle of somehow also remaining refreshing and sharp.

"The Trip to Italy" opens in limited release in theaters on Aug. 15.