Starring Scott Mechlowicz, Jacob Pitts, Kristin Kreuk, Cathy Meils, Nial Ishakov, Michelle Trachtenberg, Travis Wester, Fred Arnisen, Matt Damon, Molly Schade, Jakki Degg, Lenka Vomocilova, Jessica Boehrs, Andrea Stuart, Vinnie Jones, Jeffrey Tambor, Lucy Lawless, Jana Palaske, Steven Hytner, Joanna Lumley and Diedrich Bader.
Screenplay by Alex Berg, David Mandel and Jeff Schaffer.
Directed by Jeff Schaffer.
Distributed by DreamWorks Pictures. 96 minutes. Rated R.
I’m not one of those people who believe that Europeans hate Americans. I’ve been there several times over the years and all the people I met were extremely nice. However, if it is true that some people in Europe dislike the “ugly Americans,” you could probably blame it on things like this movie.
This movie is just a long series of Euro-bashing stereotypes. The British are football hooligans. The Italians are groping perverts. The Germans are Nazis. Worst of all, the French are… gasp… mimes!
In the meantime, the American kids are spectacularly dumb, loud and obnoxious. They walk through some of the most magnificent cities in the world, not noticing any of the scenery, speaking the languages or trying to interact with any of the locals. Instead, they head straight to the nearest bar, hit on sexy women and drink until they pass out. They may as well be in Poughkeepsie. Now don’t get me wrong. I’ve gotten drunk and tried to get laid in some pretty breathtaking places, but I usually took the time to at least notice my surroundings while doing it. Of course, this lack of appreciation may have something to do with the fact that the movie was done on the cheap, filmed almost entirely in Prague, with occasional stock footage of Big Ben and the Eiffel Tower to suggest we are in other cities.
Scott Mechlowicz plays Scott, a guy from Ohio who is dumped by his gorgeous girlfriend at high school graduation. I do have to admit, a scene where a punkish singer (played by an unrecognizable tattooed and pierced Matt Damon) sings a song about how he was sleeping with Scott’s ex behind his back is extremely funny.
Scott’s best buddy is Cooper, a horndog who is constantly in search of cheap booze and easy women. An early scene where Cooper tricks a girl into taking off her bikini top by telling her she has a stain on her breast (not the bikini top, mind you, but the actual breast) gives you an idea of the film’s level of respect for women. The fact that we are supposed to believe she falls for it so easily tells us something, too.
Of course, the guys aren’t rocket scientists either. Scott has been having an e-mail correspondence with a girl named Mieke for a year and he never figured out that she’s the beautiful blonde girl in the picture rather than the dorky German guy. When Mieke e-mails suggesting that they meet, Scott thinks it’s a gay man and shoots back an offensive reply telling him to keep his hands off. Only then does Scott’s little brother point out that her e-mail’s tenses suggest that it is a girl, and that Mieke is a common German name like Michelle. Mieke is upset by the message and blocks his e-mails. So instead of using a friend’s account to write her and explain the mix-up, Scott decides to fly to Europe on the spur of the moment to find her. Cooper decides to go along for the ride because he believes Europe is decadent.
While in Europe they meet up with two friends from home, a brother and sister pair of twins named Jamie and Jenny (apparently they have those annoying parents who give twins alliterative rhyming names.) Jamie is a brilliant, uptight boy, who actually seems to be the only one of the group who knows anything about the cities they visit. But, of course, the brains cover up a social awkwardness. So, as it goes in these movies, he is the one who scores first, with a hot photo shop employee. It is a running gag that they think of Jenny as one of the guys, but it is kind of weak. Michelle Trachtenberg (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) is way too attractive for any guy to not notice that she’s a girl. Finally, towards the end, Cooper does seem to discern that she has breasts and jokingly asks her to get naked. This passes for true love in this movie.
Eurotrip is actually sort of very dumb fun in some of these scenes. But it ends on a spectacularly weird note; when the group has to go to the Vatican and stop Mieke before she goes off on a semester at sea. Through a group of incredibly unlikely and strained coincidences, Scott and Cooper mistakenly make the entire world believe that the Pope has died and that Scott has been named the new Pope. I’m not Catholic, so it didn’t offend me. However, even I had to think that with all the health problems he’s had in recent years, maybe the dead Pope jokes are in really bad taste.
Is Eurotrip a horrible film? No, but they don’t seem to care enough to make it a particularly good one, either. In the long run, the main question from anyone going to this genre of films is, “was the gratuitous nudity worth sitting through the rest of the story?” Even on this low scale, the answer was “just barely.” The people who really want to see Eurotrip might as well wait for it to come out as the inevitable special unrated DVD, which will undoubtedly add a few seconds of titillation. Anyone who really wants to see a thoughtful movie about young people finding love in Europe should wait until Richard Linklater’s Before Sunset comes out in June. (2/04)
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2004 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: March 13, 2004.