Critic’s Pick: ‘The Trip to Italy’ is delicious summer fun

Rob Brydon, left, and Steve Coogan star in "The Trip to Italy," directed by Michael Winterbottom.
(Sundance Institute)

Instead of packing up its bags and leaving L.A. as so many of this summer’s indies have had to do, “The Trip to Italy” is settling into a few more theaters. It seems as if Michael Winterbottom’s latest culinary road trip intends to linger for a bit. As the filmmaker captures actors Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon playing slightly more comic and slightly more absurd versions of their real selves, the two old friends dine on exquisite dishes along the picturesque Amalfi Coast and dissect middle age, the acting craft and more. As Winterbottom did first for “The Trip” and now for “Italy,” he takes a season of the popular British TV show and pares it down to its funniest bone for the big screen. The slicing and dicing still leaves a bounty of the sort of wry wit both comic actors are known for, and the Italian countryside is a feast for the eyes. There are side trips, at least metaphorically. Coogan is wrestling with a recalcitrant teenage son. Brydon is worrying his way into a self-destructive midlife affair. But the main course is their clever conversation across the table; the eavesdropping is delicious summer fun.

Twitter: @betsysharkey