Sadly, cannot even flirt with the intelligent, succinct 2010 “The Trip” starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, as themselves; their refreshing, hilarious, dramatic flair for impersonations; keenly exhibiting a sensational “gift of gab” and formidable, stylized improvisational acuity. It ranked as one of the smartest films of the 2010-11 season. Here we have stale leftovers, served in the scintillating, sublimely poetic landscape of Italy.
The same twosome, older, “sparkless”; gallantry has waned, dining no longer a passion, just a means to survive and hardly thrive; zestful, tantalizing Italian dishes, fizzle in the tepid, insignificant enthusiasm of the consumers. Their impersonations of Michael Caine, Robert DeNiro, Hugh Grant, Roger Moore, Woody Allen are repetitive; redundancy a poor substitute for ingenuity.
In “The Trip” the works, words of Wordsworth and Coleridge inform their finely- honed repartee; dazzling, provocative game that defines their intellectual competiveness and friendship; “The Trip to Italy” focuses on the Romantic poets who sought inspiration from the enchantments of Italy: quotes from Lord Byron, Shelley and Keats instead of igniting the palate, stimulate yawns and ennui. If, as Shelley professed “a poet’s food is love and fame”, neither will be realized in this droll, tiresome, diaphanous attempt to capture what once was; Thomas Wolfe felt you can never go home again; “The Trip to Italy” never went anywhere.