SF International Film Festival to see The Trip to Italy, Michael Winterbottom's sequel to his road movie The Trip. British comedic actors Steve Coogan & Rob Brydon, playing slightly fictionalized versions of themselves, are on another newspaper junket, this time through Italy. They drive a Mini, stay at boutique hotels, eat fancy gourmet meals & take in spectacular scenery. Their easy friendship expresses itself through their competitive banter, filled with celebrity impressions & riffs on Hollywood cliches. Mr. Brydon's version of Gore Vidal is hilariously spot-on. The situations & acting feel so natural that it seems like the movie made itself. Occasional nods to the melancholy of middle age & wispy subplots involving infidelity & parenting keep the film from being entirely sybaritic. Even though the film is visually all about the natural beauty of Italy, the operatic background music comes from the very Germanic Richard Strauss.
The line for the show went around the block, & the audience filled the largest auditorium in the Kabuki Cinema. There was much oohing & aahing over the beautiful locales & plates of food. I think I got most of the jokes, though I had to look up Mo Farah when I got home. The film was introduced by festival programmer Rachel Rosen, who said she hoped we weren't hungry. The film did not make me hungry, but it did make me wish for a glass of crisp, cool white wine.
§ The Trip to Italy
Director: Michael Winterbottom
UK/Italy, 1014, 115 mins.
§ The 57th Annual San Francisco International Film Festival
April 29, 2014, 6:30 p.m. Sundance Kabuki Cinema
May 2, 2014, 1:30 p.m. Sundance Kabuki Cinema