Review by Derrick Carter
Running Time: 1 hour 33 minutes
MPAA Rating: R for Sexuality, Nudity, Language and Drug/Alcohol Content
Directed by: Jeff Schaffer
Written by: Jeff Schaffer, Alec Berg, David Mandel
Starring: Scott Mechlowicz, Jacob Pitts, Michelle Trachtenberg, Travis Wester, Jessica Boehrs, Kristin Kreuk, Vinnie Jones, Jeffrey Tambor, Matt Damon
EUROTRIP is not sophisticated, smart, or fresh. It’s certainly not ground-breaking, nor is it particularly special. However, there’s something about the movie that just works. It’s a crude, rude, lewd R-rated comedy that mainly derives its jokes from stereotypes (both about dumb Americans in foreign countries and the residents of many those countries) that piles on solid laughs throughout. The plot jumps from joke to joke and there’s little in the way of an intricate story being carved out for each of these skit-like scenes. What separates EUROTRIP from something like GROWN UPS (a recent example of a movie with major problems in this approach) is that this European sex-comedy has continuity. Every isolated scene serves to drive the movie forward in some fashion, though it’s mainly to take the group of characters into a new country. There are a fair share of moments that fall flat, but also plenty that got the intended reaction out of me (chuckling, shock value, and laughing out loud). The movie serves as a decent time-killer or party film with some friends.
On the day of his graduation, Scott is dumped by his two-timing bitch of a girlfriend. Showing some sympathy his way is Mieke, an online German pen pal, who suggests that they could possibly hook up over the summer. Mistaking the name Mieke for “Mike,” Scott believes that his foreign friend is gay man wanting to get into his pants. So half-drunk and doing the most rational thing he can think of, Scott writes a rude e-mail to Mieke rejecting her advances only to find out to late that she could have been the perfect girl for him. In order to win her back (seeing as she’s blocked his incoming e-mails), Scott and his group of friends travel across Europe to get in Berlin, in order for Scotty to win the heart of Mieke. Hijinks, sexual deviancy, and heavy drug use follow.
EUROTRIP isn’t aiming for the most intelligent material at hand and it graphically flaunts its very much earned R-rating. There’s lots of gratuitous nudity, tons of profanity, and truly outrageously offensive scenarios. Sometimes, it works in the film’s favor and other times, the script appears to being trying too hard. Throwing everything out at once and hoping most of it will stick is the comedic approach used by the film’s three screenwriters. Though none of the writers and director worked on 2000’s ROAD TRIP, it’s clear that this is pretty much the same basic premise as that film with the setting changed to Europe.
Colorful characters enter and exit at the drop of a dime, but these are some of the biggest laughs I had in the film. Vinnie Jones (former soccer player turned actor) makes a hilarious appearance as a British hooligan and Matt Damon (though only in the film for one brief sequence) makes the most memorable scene with a catchy song that is sure to get stuck in your head. It’s a series of episodic skits, but they make sense within the flimsy storyline that doesn’t overstay its welcome.
Besides some stale material you can see coming from a mile away, the main characters in EUROTRIP aren’t exactly the most charismatic or enjoyable people to watch. Part of the story does rely on these people being the stereotypical dumb Americans thrown into fish-out-of-water situations in various countries, but there’s got to be some likability to them in order for the viewer to truly care about their journey. This is a cheap R-rated comedy and may have been never intended to be high art, but I’d certainly like to give a shit about what happens to these characters. No individual is worth caring about. This includes the bland Scotty, who’s conclusion feels forced in a lot of different ways. Michelle Trachtenberg and Travis Wester are so-so as comically inept twins. Finally, there’s the most annoying person in the film: Jacob Pitts. He comes off as the poor man’s Seann William Scott and Pitts plays his role like a combination of various sex-obsessed side characters from other R-rated comedies. Sometimes, he does get funny scenes (one moment in a European sex club had me cracking up), but Pitts is a mostly irritating character who I didn’t care for at all.
EUROTRIP made me laugh quite a bit, but its populated with plenty of jokes you can see coming from a mile away. The episodic sense of humor primarily relies of stereotypes between dumb Americans and over-the-top foreigners. It’s not high art, but it’s enjoyable for a crude comedy with a go-for-broke attitude. The film isn’t afraid to show off it’s R-rated with some really gross scenes, but is also wrapped in clichés with unlikable characters. In the end, EUROTRIP comes off as a good film to watch with some friends wanting a quick and dumb little comedy. It’s a movie that’s worth seeing just so you can remind one another about certain scenes and still get some solid chuckles from thinking about those moments. I thought it was a satisfying film that suffers from some problems. You should know if this film is up your alley or not.