Directed by: Jeff Schaffer
Starring: Scott Mechlowicz, Jacob Pitts, Michelle Trachtenberg, Travis Webster
I settled in to watch Eurotrip in exactly the same frame of mind as if I were about to be subjected to a marathon of Beverly Hillbillies episodes.
Only a few minutes into the film, and I was quite certain that my worst fears were about to be realized. Then, just as I was sinking into the absolute depths of despair, there appeared Matt Damon -- head shaved, plastered in tattoos and festooned with more body piercings than a pincushion -- as the lead singer for a punkish band. He was belting out a song called "Scotty Doesn't Know" (think early Oingo Boingo) detailing all the sexual hijinks of the girl who just dumped the film's lead, Scott Thomas (Scott Mechlowicz). Suddenly, it looked like Eurotrip wasn't just another teen comedy after all.
Whatever else the film is, it isn't "just another" anything. It's wild, irreverent, raunchy and almost constantly inventive -- and it never stops for breath. It's also very much not for the easily offended (nor even for the somewhat easily offended), containing all manner of deliberate outrages -- from male frontal nudity (mostly involving people you wouldn't want to see naked) to teen drinking to borderline incest to drug gags to ... well, you name it. The explosive bad taste keeps you going on its sheer chutzpah and unbridled strangeness alone.
That I would end up actually enjoying a movie by the three guys -- Alec Berg, Dave Mandel and Jeff Schaffer -- responsible for the execrable Cat in the Hat is little short of a miracle (though Eurotrip may simply indicate that these boys shouldn't be let within a hundred miles of a PG-rated concept). Unrestrained, unconstrained and indeed unrefined, they run riot with the possibilities of film as a vehicle for any and every wild idea that comes their way.
Sure, the movie's basic premise is purely utilitarian: None-too-bright and recently dumped Scott thinks that the German penpal he's been e-mailing is a man named Mike; panic-stricken, he rebuffs "Mike's" suggestion that they get together, only to find that Mike is actually Mieke (Jessica Boehrs), a singularly hot girl. Unfortunately, he's so offended her that she's blocked his e-mails.
Never having heard of a Hotmail account, Scott and his buddy, Cooper (Jacob Pitts, K-19: The Widowmaker), opt to tag along with their friends, Jenny (Michelle Trachtenberg, TV's Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Jamie (Travis Wester, Teddy Bears' Picnic) for a European trip in order to get to Germany and explain things to Mieke. As simple as that is, what follows is anything but.
The wild array of gags -- some of them positively surreal -- come tumbling out with alarming speed. It would do Eurotrip a disservice to go into great detail, but I, for one, can't help but like a movie in which the hero charms a thuggish gang of hardcore Brit soccer fans (headed by Snatch's "Bullet Tooth Tony," Vinnie Jones) by trying to pass off singing Sheena Easton's "Morning Train" as the Manchester team song! Or what about TV's Xena -- Lucy Lawless -- as the dominatrix proprietress of a singularly kinky Amsterdam sex emporium? Or Kylie Minogue's Moulin Rouge! Green Fairy rethought as a chubby man (Steve Hytner) who aptly sums up the borderline incestuous encounter between Jenny and Jamie -- and, in fact, the whole movie -- by commenting, "This is some f**ked-up s**t!"? There's even a snatch of an old Maurice Chevalier song worked into the film. And be sure to stick around for the outtakes, which include an hysterical cameo by Joanna Lumley (TV's Absolutely Fabulous) as the keeper of a sketchy youth hostel ("Your personal valuables will almost certainly be stolen, so I suggest destroying or discarding them now ...").
As filmmaking, Eurotrip is often rather crude (though sometimes surprisingly accomplished). However, as a wild ride at the movies ... well, it's also crude. But that's the charm of it.
-- reviewed by Ken Hanke