Film Review: Eurotrip
Tue Feb 17, 2004, 5:33 PM ET
By Michael Rechtshaffen
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Just as "National Lampoon's Vacation" begat "National Lampoon's European Vacation," so, too, has 2000's hit "Road Trip" paved the way for "Eurotrip." And while it might have been tempting to this dismiss teen comedy as Eurotrash, it really isn't that bad, sophomorically speaking.
Although a number of the gags fall flatter than a crepe, the accent is on the charmingly juvenile as opposed to the purely puerile, with a fresh-faced cast of amiable young performers on hand to make the trek relatively painless.
Obviously DreamWorks, which is giving the picture the slot occupied this time last year by "Old School" (also from the "Road Trip" producing team), is looking to capture some of that box office magic, and while "Eurotrip" isn't nearly as comically inspired, it should still play well with young male-skewing audiences.
Back when "Road Trip" hit the streets, the gross-out comedy was in full "American Pie"-fertilized bloom, but with the subgenre having thankfully bottomed out, the new breed likes to mix a little more naivete in with the naughty bits.
Hence the central character of Scotty, played by newcomer Scott Mechlowicz with the same sort of Jason Biggs (news) nice-guy goofiness, a high school grad who finds himself en route to Europe to hook up with his German Internet pen pal Mieke (Jessica Boehrs) shortly after he was very publicly dumped by his girlfriend Fiona (Kristin Kreuk (news)).
But before he gets to Berlin, Scotty and his sex-obsessed buddy Cooper (Jacob Pitts) make pit stops in London and Paris -- where they hook up with friends Jenny (Michelle Trachtenberg (news)) and her "Frommer's Guide"-wielding twin brother Jamie (Travis Wester) -- before moving on to Amsterdam, Bratislava, Rome and Vatican (news - web sites) City.
Along the way they must deal with British soccer hooligans, annoying French human robots, a merciless Dutch dominatrix (Lucy Lawless (news)) and a creepy, lascivious Italian guy on the train ("Saturday Night Live's" Fred Armisen).
Not all of it works, but the bright cast makes it mainly agreeable, as do the supporting players, including Matt Damon (news) in a cameo as a tattooed rocker who performs (courtesy of the band Lustra) the very funny and very catchy "Scotty Doesn't Know," which takes stock of Scotty's ex-girlfriend's various infidelities.
Making his directorial debut is Jeff Schaffer, who, along with fellow scripters Alec Berg and David Mandel, were former editors of the Harvard Lampoon before graduating to "Seinfeld" and more recently collaborated on "Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat."
Their gently risque style seems better suited to the teen sex comedy than to Dr. Seuss, but the most impressive work here is done by production designer Allan Starski ("Schindler's List") and visual effects supervisor Kevin Blank, who manage to create reasonable facsimiles of all the above-mentioned destinations without ever setting foot off of the production's Prague home base.
DreamWorks Pictures presents a Montecito Picture Co. production. A Berg/Mandel/Schaffer film.
Cast: Scotty Thomas: Scott Mechlowicz; Jenny: Michelle Trachtenberg; Cooper Harris: Jacob Pitts; Jamie: Travis Wester; Mieke: Jessica Boehrs; Madame Vandersexxx: Lucy Lawless; Mad Maynard: Vinnie Jones; Creepy Italian Guy: Fred Armisen; Donny: Matt Damon; Fiona: Kristin Kreuk.
Director: Jeff Schaffer; Screenwriters: Alec Berg & David Mandel & Jeff Schaffer; Producers: Daniel Goldberg, Jackie Marcus, Alec Berg, David Mandel; Executive producers: Ivan Reitman (news), Tom Pollick, Joe Medjuck; Director of photography: David Eggby; Production designer: Allan Starski; Editor: Roger Bondelli; Costume designer: Julia Caston; Music: James L. Venable.