One good Trip deserves another, and so Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon and director Michael Winterbottom have delivered an affable, eye-filling, generally amusing film about a restaurant tour of Italy. Their route follows the Italian journeys of Lord Byron and Percy Byshe Shelley in the early 1800s, so that means Piemonte, Liguria (including a possible visit to Cinque Terre, or at least an area that resembles it), Rome, Pompeii, Napoli and the Amalfi Coast. They ride around in a Mini-Cooper, taking in the scenic splendor of the hilly regions and gorging on plates and plates of pasta, vegetables, truffles, seafood and various heavily sauced entrees. Italy has never been about dieting. Or abstaining from drink. Coogan is sober when he starts but soon succumbs to the lure of the grape.

Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon in Michael Winterbottom’s The Trip.

Variety‘s Scott Foundas has partially described The Trip To Italy as “carb-heavy food porn.” Plus five-star hotel porn, I would add. Plus some beautiful women, the usual array of impersonations (including an inspired riff about a Dark Knight Rises assistant trying to persuade Tom Hardy and Christian Bale to speak their lines more clearly), the usual witty banter and what felt to me like less antagonism between Coogan and Brydon than in The Trip. This plus the magnificent culture, architecture, typography, history, personality and eternal soul of Italy. All to the good.

Does enough “happen”? In my view, no. If they’re going to script everything and pre-arrange the adventure they might as well include some mishaps, or at least include something more than Brydon getting lucky with a blonde tour guide and Coogan inviting his son to join them toward the end.

It’s the irksome or unexpected or even calamitous stuff that makes a trip memorable. The off moments, the small disasters, the speeding tickets, the rainstorms, the odd obnoxious tourist you had a fight with, the scooter that ran out of gas, the missed trains, etc. I realize, of course, that the point of The Trip to Italy is to let Coogan and Brydon carry the ball, so to speak, but their journey feels so tastefully decided upon, so first-class and so Conde Nast Traveller that it all feels a bit muffled. Why can’t Steve and Rob be funny and pithy and deal with uncomfortable, unfortunate or otherwise wild-ass experiences of one kind or another?