Catholic News Service
Think carefully before embarking on “The Trip to Italy,” an occasionally tasteless grand tour through the Italian peninsula.
What can be an enchanting travelogue, with breathtaking scenery and mouth-watering cuisine, is, regrettably, offset by some vulgar humor and sexual situations which place this film squarely in the adult camp.
Two British actor/comedians, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, set out on a road trip, along the lines of their 2010 film, “The Trip,” a restaurant tour through northern England. Michael Winterbottom returns as director, blurring the lines between real-life documentary and fictional drama.
Fine cuisine and grand hotels are the primary goals. There’s also a bit of history, as the travel buddies retrace the steps of the 19th-century English Romantic poets Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley.
Hollywood movies are a shared passion. They drive a Mini Cooper convertible (shades of “The Italian Job”) and reminisce about Italian-set classics such as “The Godfather,” “Roman Holiday” and “La Dolce Vita.” In between, they make a number of vulgar jokes.
As the lads wend their way from Turin to Naples, personal issues intervene. Both fret about work and relationships as much as their next meal. Coogan, divorced, misses his teenage son. Brydon, married with a young daughter, has a roving eye that gets him into trouble.
The travelers are brilliant impersonators, and “The Trip to Italy” works best when they skewer fellow actors such as Al Pacino, Michael Caine and Hugh Grant.
Directors also are fair game. Admiring the seagulls flying above the Bay of Naples, Brydon improvises that Alfred Hitchcock, when directing the 1963 horror classic “The Birds,” gave each feathered friend a name, and offered individual direction.
The film contains adultery, implied nonmarital sexual activity, sexual humor and innuendo, and occasional crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III, adults. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.