Friday, August 8, 2014

The Trip to Italy Review Second Course of Comedy

Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are otherwise unknown in America. A fact they go over and whine about in their sequel semi-autobiographical tale The Trip to Italy. You’ll get to know them if you haven’t seen their first film, simply titled “The Trip” as they bicker back and forth and impersonate famous actors bringing back an almost dog whimpering voice of Michael Caine from the Christopher Nolan Batman films. The film is a glimpse of their relationship as comedians, actors and friends as they go through the beautiful Italian country side while eating meals that will make you want to order something during the movie. Don’t see it on an empty stomach or be ready to go out right after.

The film follows the premise of the first where Rob is invited by a magazine, The Observer, to tour Italy and review 6 restaurants. Rob invites Steve for the trip and they’re off to Italy. Their quirky behavior that pokes fun at each other overrides ever meal. There are solemn moments for the two. Steve has since grown a bit from the first film while Rob has become more like Steve, becoming an adulterer and more childish about his stardom.

Steve and Rob don’t play nice, they mince words as only professional comedians can, hurting each other’s egos as though a wrestling match had severely broken both their bodies, but they just keep fighting. Their first meal brings up how they would each other and under what circumstances. Cannibalism is only the start at what they will do with each other. Plots of how Steve will be killed by Rob and shortly after another scenario where they fall in love and retire to the Italian country side are brought up in their venomous and friendly interaction with each other. These are pure fits of laughter as you think they only reason those seating next to them aren’t laughing about it is because they only speak Italian.

A scene that fans of the two might have seen a long time coming was there outright destruction of how hard it was to hear Tom Hardy as Bane and Christian Bale as Batman in the film The Dark Knight Rises. They get so boisterous and loud making fun of how incoherent the two were in the film you would think the other patrons in their first Italian restaurant would tell them to shut up. This continues at the relive scenes from other classics like The Godfather.

They wouldn't be British if they didn't make fun of the Bonds again.

Conversations come from friends and these two play well off of each other. Though the characters roles reverse in their actions in the film Steve acts likes a pompous child and Rob just jibes in with self-defecating humor. Rob will take down Steve with every statement he says that tries to make him bigger than his ego.

The venues allow for at least one cunning comeback of Rob’s famous “Small Man Trapped in a Box” voice.  Mount Vesuvius’ deadly eruption thousands of years ago trapped Roman citizens in place and one particular man, now on display in an odd position, is game for Rob to Steve’s tortured pain.

Death is on their minds in this film, as moments of their deaths are joked about and their egos shine on about if they’ll be remembered.  Its dark humor, mixed with fly on the wall moments and just a tiny bit of drama for the two with Rob’s infidelity and the eventual arrival of Steve’s son out of a longing for family from Steve.

It ends abruptly as it began in another lovely looking venue of Italian ocean side wonder.

A Trip to Italy is a short time with Rob and Steve as they transverse Italy and attack each other at every turn over the little most meaningless thing as only two true long time friends could. Rob getting on Steve’s nerves isn’t as played out as the first film. Steve has possibly grown a little as a man, while Rob has become no better than Steve indulging in affair while his wife and daughter remaining in England. The two comedians still eat up meals worth drooling over as they impersonate figures that would make you choke on your food from laughter if you were sitting at their table.

The Trip to Italy start Aug 16