© 2004 Ray Wong

The CAT IN THE HAT team is at play again, this time with better results. Writers Alec Berg, David Mandel and director Jeff Shaffer concocted a mixed bag of a teen sex comedy with EUROTRIP, a story about four high school graduates romping about Europe in search for adventure and, yes, sex and romance.

Scotty (Mechlowicz, NEVERLAND) is a predictable, responsible type of guy. But his cheating girlfriend dumps him in a public, humiliating way at his high school graduation party. Drunk and distraught, he mistakes a consoling email from his German pen pal Mieke (Jessica Boehrs) as a guy’s attempt to hook up. Scotty promptly insults her, then finds out she is actually a hot, blonde girl from Berlin. Accompanied by his sex-obsessed friend Cooper (Pitts, K-19), boyish gal pal Jenny (Trachtenberg, INSPECTOR GADGET) and her bookish twin brother Jamie (Wester, SIX FEET UNDER), Scotty embarks on a journey to find Mieke. Raunchy adventures and mayhem ensure, including a night in London with soccer hooligans, a duel with a gilded mime in Paris, absinth-laced adventures in Bratislava, sex and drugs in Amsterdam, and mistaken identities at the Vatican.

Like its predecessors ROAD TRIP and AMERICAN PIE (among others), we get plenty of dirty jokes, potty humor and naked bodies (in one scene, lots of naked, middle-aged, out of shape men). And like AMERICAN PIE, the big bag of sleaze is mixed with a healthy dose of sweetness about friendship and love. As one character says: America was founded by prudes (just look at the hoopla about the Super Bowl halftime show – I digress). Once we let go of our prudishness, we can actually enjoy the harmless fun this film tries to offer. Granted, some jokes are simply too silly or mundane to warrant a chuckle. However, some of the scenarios are genuinely original, politically incorrect, and funny. I particularly enjoy the bits with the Nazi boy (yes, it is wrong. But it is funny). The Vatican scenes also generate some authentic laughs.

Yes, stereotypes abound – we get the idea about stupid Europeans and ugly Americans alike. If you are looking for political correctness and character complexity, look elsewhere. But take it for what it is, the film offers some genuine laughs and amiable performances. The largely unknown cast is charming – you cannot help but root for them. Matt Damon, Lucy Lawless, Vinnie Jones, Diedrich Bader, Jeffrey Tambor and Joanna Lumley (whose scenes appear only in the end credits) make some outrageous cameos. The soundtrack is “kewl” in an MTV kind of way: one on-going joke involves a catchy, Smashing Pumpkin-style tune, “Scotty Doesn’t Know.” Filmed mostly in Prague, the film misses the mark in showing us the true diversity and beauty of Europe; then again, this is not Frommer’s “Let’s Go Europe.” This is a feel-good comedy celebrating youth, love and friendship, with some sex, drugs and alcohol thrown in. Not entirely a bad way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon, especially after church.

Stars: Scott Mechlowicz, Michelle Trachtenberg, Jacob Pitts, Travis Wester
Director: Jeff Shaffer
Writers: Alec Berg, David Mandel, Jeff Shaffer
Distributor: DreamWorks
MPAA Rating: R for sexuality, nudity, language, drugs and alcohol


Script – 6
Performance – 7
Direction – 6
Cinematography – 6
Music/Sound– 7
Editing – 6
Production – 6

Total – 6.3 out of 10

No comments: