Posts Tagged ‘Trip to Italy movie review’

By Paul and Eileen Goldfinger, editors @Blogfinger.

Italian Vacation is a hilarious and gorgeous  film with wall to wall laughs, delicious foods and beautiful scenics of Italy, along the Amalfi and Liguria coasts.  Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are two English comedians who embark on a high class Italian road trip, following in the footsteps of poet Lord Byron and his buddy Shelly who once took a grand tour of Italy in the early 19th century.  The two friends, Rob and Steve, get to stay at the best hotels and go to the finest restaurants, all paid for by the newspaper that sent them on a foodie travel  assignment.

We take the tour with Steve and Rob as they joke their way across Italy in a mini-Cooper.  The banter between these two comics, who improvised the entire film, left us in stitches as they did impressions of many famous and not-so famous stars such as Michael Caine, Hugh Grant, Richard Burton, Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman,  and so many others. They also took some shots at singers Michael Bublé and Alanis Morissette.

Even if you missed some of the lines, as we did, due to their British accents and comedic references that were unfamiliar to us, you will find this very original buddy movie to be hysterical. But you have to like wordplays, one-liners and movie references.  These two are so on the same wave length that they are capable of anticipating the next line in the conversation, so the dialogues tend to be rapid-fire.  Rotten Tomatoes referred to it as “crackling chemistry.”

I especially enjoyed the portrayal of how 21st century middle-aged men view the world and themselves.  There are serious moments as they discuss women, family and work. It is about male companionship which is always somewhat competitive. One complained ruefully that when he catches the eye of a beautiful young woman, she usually offers a smile “like you would give a benevolent uncle.” But despite that sort of remark, these two are good looking guys who enjoy the fine meals, the wines, the conversations, and, yes, the exchanges with women along the way.  They say that women like men who are funny, so I suspect that Steve and Rob will have no problems in that area, even as they get much older. Getting older is a theme for these guys who worry about their mortality.

The foods, mostly scrumptious looking seafood dishes with pasta, are photographed beautifully, but Eileen complained that they shortchanged the preparation of these spectacular dishes. I agree. We would have enjoyed some scenes in the kitchen as we saw in “The Hundred Foot Journey” which we recently reviewed.

The movie made us hungry for Italian food, so after the show, as we attended a late afternoon screening,  we went straight to our favorite Italian restaurant around here—Jimmy’s in Asbury Park on Asbury Avenue.  This restaurant is consistently good with authentic cuisine. They have been around for ages and they attract a knowing and appreciative crowd. It feels very old fashioned to us, reminiscent of places we visited in the past in Big Italy and Little Italy.

Bar at Jimmy's during the week. Tables for dining are to the right.  Two large dining rooms are in the back.

Bar at Jimmy’s during the week. Tables for dining are to the right. Two large dining rooms are in the back. That’s our waitress. (the one on the right)  Blogfinger photo ©

We chose a booth out by the bar—-it felt homey, warm and relaxed.  We’re not Italian, but Eileen cooks like one, and I play one on Blogfinger, so we fit right in at Jimmy’s.  We shared a “Jimmy’s salad” with the dressing on it—not on the side.  Then we split an order of lobster fra diavlo over linguine. The premium house wines were excellent—we had a Tuscan Antinori wine and a Ruffino Ducale chianti (by the glass).  An essential component of such a meal is the  Italian bread and olive oil  which I enjoyed before, during and after dinner, some pieces with butter, but Eileen amazingly avoided it totally.    By then we had to skip dessert because we were stuffed. The dinner was excellent and was the perfect finale to our Italian movie and dinner-date.

We saw this movie at the Bow Tie Middlebrook Cinema on Route 35 in Ocean. It is a sequel to Steve and Rob’s  first such film called  “The Trip” which began as a mini-series for the BBC and is now available on Netflix.   Adio!

ALANIS MORISSETE  Her album Jagged Little Pill  is featured in this movie.  But, this particular song by this Canadian singer is from the movie “De-Lovely” about Cole Porter.



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