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Review by Sharon Knolle
Produced by, Andrew Eaton, Josh Hyams, 
Stefano Negri, Melissa Parmenter, Giulia Salvadori
Written and Directed by Michael Winterbottom
Starring Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon

Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon take their bickering comedy duo on the road again in The Trip to Italy, where they sample the finest Italian cuisine, stay in luxury resorts and continue their dead-on celebrity impersonations.

Whether or not you’ve seen the first film (which had them touring England’s Lake District) or you even know who these two scoundrels are, they’re hilarious.

The food and the beautiful settings are really just an occasion for them to launch into comedic riffs, as in the scene in which they both channel Michael Caine as Batman’s butler, “Alfred” at their first restaurant.

I haven’t laughed harder at a movie all year.

They make fun of themselves, the whole idea of a doing a sequel and, since they’re in Italy, everything to do with Al Pacino and The Godfather.

Director Michael Winterbottom again allows them to improvise along the way, while adding a few plot points such as Brydon’s audition for a Michael Mann film and Coogan’s teenage son joining them along the way –- neither of which are real: Since they’re playing fictionalized versions of themselves, you needn’t fret as much as Brydon does over his Italian infidelities.

Among their stops are the stunning resort where Humphrey Bogart stayed while filming Beat the Devil, and Pompeii, where Brydon indulges in some non-PC humor at the expense of some of the famously immortalized victims of Mt. Vesuvius.

While you don’t need to be familiar with Coogan and Brydon, it does help if you appreciate their devotion to Byron and Shelley, who get name checked throughout as the duo is retracing the famous poets’ steps.

If you enjoy British wit, mouth-watering Italian food, and watching middle-aged men flirt with impossibly beautiful women and sing along to Alanis Morissette, then this is the film for you.

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Trip to Italy opens on August 15 in limited release.

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