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(2003) (Scott Mechlowicz, Jacob Pitts) (R)

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Comedy: Hoping to make amends with his female German Internet friend that he thought was a guy, a high school graduate travels throughout Europe with his friends in hopes of finding and apologizing to her.
Scotty Thomas (SCOTT MECHLOWICZ) has just graduated from high school only to have his girlfriend suddenly dump him. He finds support from friends Cooper (JACOB PITTS) and twins Jenny (MICHELLE TRACHTENBERG) and Jamie (TRAVIS WESTER) and still enjoys his regular correspondence with German Internet pal Mieke (JESSICA BOEHRS).

The only thing is that he doesn't know she's a girl, prompting a nasty, homophobic and drunken response from him when she offers to visit him in America. When his younger brother informs him of the error of his ways and he then discovers that Mieke has blocked all of his email, Scotty realizes he must travel to Europe to apologize in person.

Posing as couriers, Scotty and Cooper manage to fly into London, hoping they can then make it over to Germany. A serious of mishaps and encounters with a wild assortment of people, however, interrupts their trip. After meeting up with Jenny and Jamie in Paris, the foursome then sets out to find Mieke, all while pursuing their individual European goals.

OUR TAKE: 3 out of 10
One of the joys of entering young adulthood is the ability to do things that were once forbidden or required adult supervision and/or permission. Before the advent of the Internet, HBO and VCRs, one of them was finally being able to watch - without fear of getting caught - R-rated films.

For many teens, that ritual involved seeing risqué teen sex comedies such as "Porkys." Those looking for real-life rather than cinematic adult adventures, however, often traveled overseas for a parent-free European experience.

The filmmakers behind "Eurotrip" have decided to combine both elements in this randy and raucous but redundant and moronic road trip comedy. None of which should come as a surprise considering that writer/director Jeff Schaffer (making his directorial debut) and fellow scribes Alec Berg and David Mandel are those responsible for the similarly adolescent-minded and poorly made "The Cat in the Hat."

With all the subtlety and creativity of the proverbial bull in the china shop, the filmmakers have clumsily and carelessly concocted their film, knowing full well that its target audience doesn't care squat about how messy and sophomoric the results are. They just want to relive their own wild times or experience the drinking, nudity, sex and more either anew or vicariously through the onscreen characters.

Speaking of which, the degree of such material pushes the limits of teen sex comedies and R-rated films in general. In fact, and notwithstanding the family hour on free TV vs. a restricted film, the material here makes the whole Janet Jackson brouhaha seem like an episode of Mister Rogers Neighborhood in comparison.

I'm no expert on such matters, but I'd have to guess that this film holds or at least now ties the record for most full views of the full male anatomy outside a pure porno flick (and it probably gives some of them a run for their money, although not in the same fashion).

Yes, one expects plenty of skin in such films, but it's usually of the T&A variety rather than many complete shots of men in their birthday suits. Maybe that's to appease the young ladies in attendance who now expect equality in such matters, but such nudity is played for laughs (and homophobic ones at that), whereas the female variety is still used for pure titillation.

Aside from being in a stag film, however, such material cannot carry a picture alone. Accordingly, the filmmakers have inserted all sorts of predictably sophomoric and juvenile material into their picture. Not surprisingly, it will probably play well to less discerning members of the target audience, but few others.

The barebones plot is about a simplistic as they come. A guy mistakes his German Internet pal for a guy, angrily tells "him" off in an email when he think "he's" coming on to him, and then sets off on a European road trip to apologize. The fact that "he" turns out to be a hot blonde doesn't hurt such motivational matters.

The protagonist - the bland but amiable Scott Mechlowicz ("Neverland") - and his friends - Jacob Pitts ("K-19: The Widowmaker," "Pipe Dream"), Michelle Trachtenberg ("Inspector Gadget," "Harriet the Spy") and Travis Wester ("Teddy Bear's Picnic") - then have various wild and crazy experience all across Europe. Showing about as much smarts as some of their characters, the filmmakers have their encounters match the countries. Thus, there's the stereotypical drug and sex-related material in Amsterdam, the goose-stepping German boy and more.

I'm not a big fan of the genre, although I liked the more "sophisticated" entries such as "Risky Business" and laughed at parts of the "American Pie" films. Much of that's because the characters in those films had a certain endearing quality. That's not present here and as a result, I found little of the offerings funny. Granted, I'm well beyond the targeted age range, but as the old saying goes, buyer beware.

The main performances are in line with what you'd expect in a film like this - teen flick bland and instantly forgettable - and the object of the protagonist's attention -- Jessica Boehrs (making her feature debut) - can't do much with her limited role.

The likes of Matt Damon, Vinnie Jones, Lucy Lawless and Rade Sherbedgia show up in small parts from time to time, but likewise are limited by the lame dialogue and plot (although Damon gets to belt out the only noteworthy element in the film, the catchy if profane "Scotty Doesn't Know" song). The rest of the material includes joke set-ups that are far too obvious, telegraphed and temporally close to the "punch line."

Although my own post-school European travels didn't contain the debauchery, nudity and wild times as occur in this film, they're still far more memorable nearly twenty years after the fact than all of the various elements of this simple and messy effort combined. "Eurotrip" rates as a 3 out of 10.

Reviewed February 12, 2004 / Posted February 20, 2004

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