The Beauty of Italy — and of Friendship

by Michael Potemra

A couple of years ago, two of the U.K.’s most talented comedians did a TV show, and subsequent movie, about driving around some of England’s loveliest countrysides. The Trip, with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, was a delightful film. U.S. audiences can now see their equally good follow-up, The Trip to Italy, which opened yesterday. (They discuss, in the film, the wisdom of making this sequel, because of what they call “second-album syndrome”: A band’s first album is full of energy and creativity. Their second . . . isn’t. Lest this sound uncomfortably meta, let me assure you, it’s as wonderfully natural as the other exchanges between them.)

Like the first film, it’s both a stunningly picturesque travelogue – Italy has never looked better — and an opportunity for a couple of very funny friends to riff together on life (and everything else). They compete at doing impressions (Roger Moore, Al Pacino, Michael Caine, Robert De Niro) and chaff each other in the way only people who really understand one another can.

One aspect of the film that amazed me was they can actually do impressions of Gore Vidal — and they capture him perfectly. In a lifetime of watching impressionists, I have never seen any of them try that.

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