Calamari With a Side of Pacino

Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon return in 'The Trip to Italy'

A few years after The Trip, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon return in The Trip to Italy. The premise: They’ll tour the Italian coast, eat lots of good food, and Brydon will write an article about their culinary adventures. Part of the gag is that neither of them is a food writer, and true enough, except for some beautiful close-ups of delightful cuisine, they don’t do much talking about their meals.

Brydon and Coogan are more interested in talking about Byron and Shelley, and if you don’t know much about Lord Byron and Percy Shelley, they’ll fill you in, and be very funny about it, too.

Much of the joy in The Trip to Italy revolves around Coogan and Brydon doing spotless impersonations of famous actors (Brydon’s Hugh Grant is so good you’d swear he was there), and taking barbed but loving jabs at each other’s abilities. There are small side plots about a couple of brief, illicit romances, but the humor wins out, with Coogan needling Brydon about his audition for a role as an accountant in an American Mafia movie, Brydon’s ad-lib as a Pompeii volcano victim and the duo’s choice to sing along with Alanis Morissette when they drive. It’s all charming and funny, and it’s over too quickly.


Directed by Michael Winterbottom

With Coogan and Brydon

The Screen


108 min.

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