The Trip to Italy

TripToItalySuggested by Brad Nelson • Two men, six meals in six different places on a road trip around Italy. Liguria, Tuscany, Rome, Amalfi and ending in Capri.
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One Response to The Trip to Italy

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    This mini review is primarily for those who can stream movies via Netflix. This film frankly isn’t good enough to search out. But if you’re sitting down looking for something to put on, you could do worse than this movie.

    Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon play a couple semi-wooden characters (perhaps adding slightly to the realism) who seem to have it in mind to recreate the movie, My Dinner with Andre. And this is sequel to the 2011 movie, The Trip, which stars the same actors.

    The movie in question here looks like an excuse for the film makers and actors to travel to Italy to vacation and sample the fine wines and food. And that could indeed be the case. In the midst of this, they patched together a movie whose only thread is a serious of imitations (some good, many mediocre) given over light (often inane) table conversation at various Italian restaurants.

    Having fairly recently re-watched My Dinner with Andre, I can tell you that this movie is better and that My Dinner with Andre, upon a second viewing more than a couple decades later, was a thin disappointment. But if you do like the general format of sometimes witty and insightful (and funny) table conversation primarily between two friends, you’ll like this movie. Or you’ll at least tolerate it.

    The good impressions to look for is when one or the other do: Hugh Grant, Michael Caine, and Dustin Hoffman. Most of the rest of the impressions are so-so, at best, and perhaps part of the joke is that they are mediocre. I don’t know.

    Some of the insights are good and they are sprinkled thinly through the movie, as are the laughs. But the sprinkling is just thick enough to make it watchable, despite the fact that this movie is unconsciously, and likely unintentionally, a look at the vacuous mindset of modern Progressive culture (thus perhaps my interest as an ongoing amateur cultural spelunker).

    At the end they even try to bolt on a theme, but it’s too late. This movie, somewhat like Seinfeld, isn’t about anything, thus a current of nihilism (probably unintentionally) runs through the movie…even as they look back and sometimes reminisce over places where Bogart has filmed, for example. You can almost feel them pining for something more substantial…but given that one of them is on the trail of the places where apparently the highly degenerate Lord Byron stayed, played, or died, the pining is short-lived and not particularly deep.

    The reason I suspect that this is a holiday movie for the film producers and actors is because the setup for the film is about a guy who is commissioned by a publication to write a series of restaurant reviews. He takes his buddy along for the ride. And they do eat at several restaurants but the food is alway not just good but excellent, which makes me suspect that they likely got favors from these restaurants in exchange for using them as a backdrop (maybe even getting free meals) for their “movie.”

    Had they actually reviewed the food and found some of it not so excellent, that could have been woven in to the movie supporting some kind of overall theme. Instead, everywhere they go the food is perfect, the jokes are often lame, the impressions bad, and the women beautiful.

    There’s little doubt that this film is somewhat highly rated because it pulls nihilism to the edge of meaning…which can only be done by showing it on this culture’s most sacred temple: movies or TV. And it’s not that this theme is so thick or noticeable, per se (and certainly likely not intentional). But you know, just like, say, The Agony and the Ecstasy would be attractive to Heston fans or religious fans (or fans who like good stories), The Trip to Italy is going to be attractive to the type of people who sit around and pretend that vapid remarks are far more meaningful than they are.

    Still, although I’ve done my utmost to rip this movie, it is watchable on a certain level. It certainly does have some spectacular cinematography.

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