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Self-mockery is a talent that few people get right. It requires a level of humility and wit that demands you make a total ass of yourself, yet somehow remain lovable. Recently, audiences cheered Seth Rogen and company for their fearless and funny self-parodies in This is The End, so it seems well-timed for news to emerge that English comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are doubling-down on their own self-abusing comedy with a sequel to The Trip.
In 2010, the two took a trip around the English countryside, visiting restaurants and getting on each others' nerves with a series of one-upmanship impression duels. (You can revisit their epic Michael Caine showdown here.) Directed by Michael Winterbottom, their journey that was part mockumentary part improvisational fireworks was released as a six-episode mini-series on BBC, and later as a feature film in the US. Its limited release earned IFC $2 million dollars, and garnered its stars rave reviews for their brave and bitingly funny take on curdled bromance. So, Deadline reports, they are getting the band back together for The Trip to Italy. The project is underway, and already IFC Films has snatched up its distribution rights for the US.
Once more, Winterbottom will helm while Coogan and Brydon star as themselves. Last time around, Coogan was shown to be a smug divorcée with a penchant for younger women and an intense rivalry toward Brydon, a happily married family man with a much easier going attitude about his career and comedy. In The Trip to Italy, these setups will have a chance to flourish and cause conflict as the pair traverses the Italian countryside, tasting enviable dishes and snapping at each other along the way.
My first exposure to Coogan and Brydon was 2005's Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story. Also helmed by Winterbottom, the film is supposedly an adaptation of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, a novel that is said to be unfilmable. But this doesn't stop Coogan (playing himself) and a band of overeager filmmakers in trying. Along the way, the production runs into various troubles, not the least of which is Coogan's overbearing ego and feigned familiarity with the source material. Brydon emerges as a rival, as his supporting character's part grows so they might add in a star (Gillian Anderson) to the struggling production. It was a comedy unlike any I'd seen before, and has made me a voracious fan of theirs. So, personally I couldn't be happier about their latest project.
You can get a taste of Tristram Shandy in the trailer below: