Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan are back! Or maybe I should say Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are back! Steve would doubtless prefer the former. In this sequel to 2011's The Trip, which is both a movie and a TV series, Brydon (whose name I consistently spelled wrong in my earlier review) and Coogan are travelling all over Italy, eating fine food and doing impressions.
The funny thing about the last movie is that while we weren't bowled over, we were constantly referencing that film later on, especially the Michael Caine impressions. "She was only fif-teen years old!" and stuff like that.
It kind of stuck with us, me and even The Boy.
This one is actually even less accessible in a lot of ways. I enjoyed it, not as much as the previous film, but way more than The Boy and The Flower, for whom a lot of the references were completely lost. Brydon does a great Gore Vidal, for example, but my kids have never even heard of Vidal. (So sue me; I don't think he's going be much of a significant historical/literary figure.)
Needless to say, it didn't go over big with them, but I rather liked it. Like Coogan's previous efforts, there is a kind of "in-joke" feeling to it, with Coogan and Brydon playing characters roughly based on themselves, but also very clearly not playing themselves.
Brydon makes a wry reference to being "affable", in one of the funnier bits, where he's kind of obnoxiously insisting on his affability, which (immense as it is) is not as great as people think it is.
The switch in this film is that Coogan comes off as the likable guy trying to make things right with his family while Brydon becomes increasingly boorish and caddish. Obviously, he's not really playing himself, but perhaps venting a bit about being typecast.
Another thing which I thought was odd was that, in the first movie, Brydon's impressions seemed far better than Coogan's, really running circles around him. This time, Coogan seems more on the ball, with Brydon attempting to constantly be the center of attension, but Coogan's stuff seeming to get more of the character of the person being imitated.
This is, like, serious theater nerd-ery here. Just like the last one, I could only recommend it guardedly, to people who like the inside-y, is-it-real-or-not actor shenanigans. And even then, I would recommend it somewhat less vigorously than the previous one.