Film Review: The Trip to Italy (UK, 2014)

Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan

The pairing of culinary delights and comedy is an appetising treat in The Trip To Italy, a somewhat slight journey through the country’s finest eating spots that will satisfy any movie-lover’s palette.

Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon play semi-fictionalised versions of themselves, on a foodie’s getaway through Italy away from the demands of family life and fame in their native England. Steve has a mildly depressed teenage son, while Rob wins a part in a Michael Mann film as an accountant to the mob. The plot is paper thin – the important things are the food, the scenery, and the dad jokes.

A follow up to 2010 venture The Trip, The Trip to Italy as we see it in cinemas is an abridged version of a three hour BBC miniseries – and the film’s roots in television are obvious. The film’s daily sections feel decidedly episodic, with a kind of stop-start momentum throughout the film that unfortunately hinders the film’s unassuming humour. The various skits over beautifully photographed meals are fresh and fast-paced – with dining table banter rarely more entertaining. Coogan and Brydon both provide top notch impressions, riffing on Michael Buble and the cast of The Dark Knight Rises at various points. They even sing along to Alanis Morrisette as they drive through the countryside in a Mini – what more could you want from a film?

But in joining the skits together with a weak attempt at a narrative, each bright section is dulled by the intermittent scenes that just prove unnecessary. Ninety solid minutes of Coogan and Brydon’s duelling impressions would have been an unparalleled delight; the drama that accompanies them just takes up screen time where you’d rather be laughing. For a film about an adventure through Italy’s finest food, we don’t see a whole lot of either, and I definitely could have done with more gratuitous shots of pasta. Ultimately, The Trip To Italy is fun but forgettable – a tasty treat that will ultimately leave you hungry.

Review Score: THREE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Running Time: 115 Minutes

The Trip to Italy is currently screening in cinemas