If you're a fan of Old School, you won't be seeing a sequel to the comedy because of Eurotrip. Todd Phillips, writer-director of Old School, as well as Road Trip, was miffed that Dreamworks used those movies in promotion for Eurotrip. The ads said that Eurotrip was from the producers of Old School and Road Trip. It's true, though, since they all share executive producers Tom Pollack and Ivan Reitman. But Phillips was mad still, for using his films. I can see his point, though, because Eurotrip is very different from those movies...but they still have a lot in common also. I'd be mad too, especially seeing that Eurotrip is written by the team that brought us The Cat in the Hat and the abysmal TV show "Herman's Head." So Eurotrip is horrible, right? Actually, it's pretty damn good, which is the most surprising thing about the movie.
Another surprising thing about this movie is the cameos that keep popping up. Look for Matt Damon, shaved head and all, in a bit part as the singer of a rock band who was sleeping with the main character Scott's (Mechlowicz) girlfriend. Oh, and Scott finds out about the cheating through one of the band's songs, which is actually kind of catchy, and pretty damn funny. Also look for small parts from Guy Ritchie regulars Vinnie Jones (Bullet-Tooth Tony in Snatch) and Rade Serbedzija (Boris the Blade in Snatch), as well as The Drew Carey Show's Diedrich Bader and Xena herself, Lucy Lawless like you've never seen her before. I thought it was pretty cool that these actors would appear in a movie like this, because this isn't normal material you'd find on their résumé’s.
The movie is sort of like Road Trip, in the fact that they're trying to get to a girl before it's too late, but the reasoning is different. In Road Trip, they're trying to get to a girl before she sees the tape of her boyfriend cheating on her. In Eurotrip, Scott finds out the "guy" that he's been penpals with is actually a gorgeous blonde (Bohrs). So, with a summer of nothingness ahead of him, decided to chase after her, with his trusty sidekick Cooper (Pitts). They meet up with they're friends (Wester and Trachtenberg), a brother-sister pair on their own trip and they all rip it up with the Europeans on their way to Scott's German hottie.
The acting here isn't anything we've really seen before, but, unlike most teen comedies, it isn't taken over the top that much. It's a lot like American Pie, where they go over the top a bit, but it still feels like stuff that real high school kids would do. Scott Mechlowicz's Scott character is a lot like Jason Biggs' Jim character in American Pie, and Mechlowicz pulls it off nicely, withough the nervous weirdness of Jim's character. Michelle Trachtenberg and Travis Wester are pretty good as the brother-sister pair, although Wester is kind of annoying sometimes. All of the cameos are great, especially Damon as the singer and Vinnie Jones as a crazy English soccer hooligan, but the best performance comes from Jacob Pitts as Cooper, the up-for-anything counterpart to Scott's apprehensive nature. Pitts has a very natural style with a decent range and, like Van Wilder's Ryan Reynolds, just his delivery alone is good for a few laughs, in some points.
The script, written by Alec Berg, David Mendel and director Jeff Schaffer, might not win awards for originality. But it is nicely crafted, with some nice subtle sub-plots and some surprisingly good dialogue. And I really loved the ongoing bit by Cooper, whenever he's in the wrong place at the wrong time, just saying "This isn't where I parked my car." The story is pretty predictable though, and there is a really annoying, unnecessary bit with this touchy-feely Italian guy on a train. It wasn't that funny and didn't have anything to do with the story, really. But other than that, the script was done rather nicely.
Director Jeff Schaffer, making his feature-film debut, does a nice job here and it seems that he's learned from the mistakes of failed teen comedies. He doesn't make it feel artificial or incredibly far-fetched...ok, maybe the scenes at the Vatican go a little too far. And them getting somewhat rich off the exchange rate from a dollar and some change is just retarded. But that stuff was pretty funny also, albeit not too logical. It feels fairly authentic for the most part. There is a lot in this material that could've just screamed for Schaffer to go way over the top, but he toned it down, while not down enough that it wasn't funny.
Eurotrip is a movie about the intricate differences between American and European culture...well, not really. It's just about a bunch of kids getting in trouble and falling in love across the pond. A lot of people will be searching high and low for reasons to dislike this movie. I know, because I did the same thing. But you can look all you want and all you'll find is that this is actually a solid, entertaining movie.