Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Eurotrip (2004)

2000s sex comedies are a real mixed bag. Many were dated on arrival, and went beyond cheesy and into downright embarrassing territory. But for all its faults, and certainly I'm by no means a fan, there were some highlights of the genre. One in particular is 2004's Eurotrip. The first thing I thought when I saw the title was "So is this a sequel/ripoff to Road Trip?". The answer is Neither, and it's just as good, perhaps even better than that film!...

Scott Thomas has just graduated high school, and is dumped on the same day. His only comfort is chatting with his German penpal 'Mike', until convinced by his friend Cooper that he's a perverted maniac, and drunkenly cuts off contact. Waking up in the morning, he realises Mieke is actually a girl's name, and this whole time a beautiful fraulein was seriously interested in him...at least, until he called her a sick German freak. Now together with his friends, he impulsively decides to journey across Europe to reach her and win her over before it's too late...

Eurotrip says what it is right on the tin. It's a trip through the heart of Europe with a bunch of dumb Americans. To this end it succeeds perfectly.

The story is pretty good. It's also cheesy as hell, make no mistake. Like, why is Scotty suddenly in love with Mieke now that he knows he's been talking with a girl this whole time? And her reciprocating at the end is just as ludicrous (though the brief fake-out is hilarious). But these are the things we accept in rom-coms, so can't be held too harshly against it.

With a lot of the 'teen' sex comedies of this era (Christ, that makes it sound so long ago!), it's all just sex sex sex, with vulgarity and crude humour. Now Eurotrip certainly has vulgar and crude moments, sure. But you know what else it has? A robot mime fight! Variety is all I ask for, people! The jokes here are frequently winners, and are laugh-out-loud funny at times, with my highlights being the nightclub scene ("OH MY GOD!"), and the group's unexpected detour ("Dear sweet mother of God. We're in Eastern Europe!").

With any travel movie, it's gotta achieve that sense of wanderlust, and Eurotrip nails it. It was actually one of the things that really inspired me to want to travel! I already wanted to in the general sense, and naturally I'd read Jules Verne as a kid, but this was the big moment that actually made me wanna trek across Europe.

Another thing I like about the movie is how for all the distractions and detours, it doesn't actually take the group long to make progress, and to ultimately reach Berlin. So often in films you see it taking forever and it borders on the ridiculous. Like, come on, it's not that hard, guys!

The film has an exaggerated portrayal of the continent and its denizens, but it never comes across as offensive, and Europeans are let in on the joke, especially with how much the American leads are made fun of.

The characters in Eurotrip are a highlight. Half the jokes wouldn't work if they weren't as good as they are. Scott is your average guy, a bit predictable to his detriment, but he manages to break out. Cooper is your typical cocky asshole, led by his 'shortsword'. He has his genuinely friendly moments though, and is never overbearing. The twins Jamie and Jenny are amusing, being a nerdy travel buff, and a girl in search of fun, respectively. Mieke is ok in her small role, mainly appearing in dream sequences. The sex scene at the end feels a bit sudden though (though the confession booth bit is funny).

The film is full of memorable side characters, from Scotty's younger brother, to the robot mime, the creepy Italian on the train, and the suave French gentlemen Christoph, whose lecherousness is only exceeded by his honesty.

The cast in Eurotrip do well. Scott Mechlowicz is a good lead, and has talented robot skills. Jacob Pitts is cocky without being annoying. Michelle Trachtenberg and Travis Wester are fun in different ways. He and Trachtenberg deserve applause for one scene in particular, where they really go all out! Jessica Boehrs is nice enough as Mieke, and is a gorgeous presence. Special praise must go to Nial Iskhakov, who plays Scotty's younger brother. He's European! I was shocked to learn, because his American accent is bloody perfect! If you really listen to his accent, you can tell there is something a bit different about it, but damn, he sounds like a born and bred citizen!

The film is pretty packed with memorable supporting/one-off characters, like Fred Armisen, Lucy Lawless, and Kristin Kreuk, among others. Of interest to European fans is the short roles of Miroslav Táborský, and Rade Šerbedžija. And the best of all has gotta be the surprise appearance by Matt Damon at the beginning. It's hilarious, and ranks as one of his best movie appearances!

The soundtrack here is pretty fun! We've got a mix, with updated rocky covers that reflect the film's cosmopolitan nature, like a cover of My Generation in French, and a German David Hasselhoff track. Then of course there's the film's most memorable song-Scotty Doesn't Know! First played at a party early on, it's an instantly catchy tune with hilarious lyrics, and recurs a few times throughout, to great effect.

An interesting fact about Eurotrip is where it was filmed. The Czech Republic! While it may jokingly portray Eastern Europe as a nightmarish hellhole, it's actually where the majority of filming took place, with a bit of effects trickery to photoshop in some famous landmarks. It's a pretty seamless effect, and for a movie based on travelling to many countries, that's no mean feat!

Eurotrip may be lowbrow, but it's still a great time. And if you're particularly into that, you'll love it even more! This is a real gem from a period of cinema I otherwise find pretty dull, and it's definitely recommended for some goofy continental fun...

1 comment:

  1. My favorite bit was when one of the Americans tip their server a nickel. It makes me laugh to this day.