It has been almost five years since I laughed so hard at a movie that my mouth actually hurt. That movie was the original American Pie, and since then I have sat nearly stone-faced, witnessing teen comedy reduced to a string of strictly pee-pee and poop jokes in films like Tomcats and even the most recent Pie sequel, American Wedding. But that streak of unfortunate unfunniness came to a much-needed halt when I saw Eurotrip, one of the most deliriously funny films in years.
In Eurotrip, recently graduated, play-it-safe Scotty Thomas (Scott Mechlowicz) and his Berlin-based computer pen pal Mieke have been writing each other for years and growing closer than most people do verbally. But when Mieke offers to meet Scotty in person, he freaks out. Thinking that Mieke is an old fat guy, Scotty sends a nasty e-mail to scare him away. What he doesn’t realize is that his foreign friend is actually a girl (Jessica Boehrs)—and a pretty hot one, at that. Once Scotty realizes the mistake he’s made, he tries to contact Mieke but finds out that she has blocked any e-mail contact with him.
Wanting to ditch his predictable ways and thinking he may have tossed his one chance at true love, Scotty and his friends Cooper (Jacob Pitts, a less lascivious version of David Spade) and a set of twins named Jenny and Jamie (Michelle Trachtenberg and Travis Wester) set off on a trip to Europe to find Mieke so that Scotty can declare his love. True to form, nothing goes as planned. The group ends up taking a rush plane to London to shorten their wait. “Europe is like the mall. We’ll just walk,” Cooper tries to explain to Scotty. Along the way, this foursome ends up trekking through London, Paris, Amsterdam, and the rough spots in Eastern Europe (the ones you usually see on CNN).
This is a classic misadventure. Eurotrip maintains the belly laughs from start to finish, without a bump in the road. You’ll be begging for the next joke to fall flat just for a moment of relief. But that never happens. What differentiates this comedy from the rest of the poop troupe is that the filmmakers (led by first time Director Jeff Schaffer) never rely on toilet humor for cheap laughs.
The film is as hilarious for its sight gags (including a small German boy who likes to march around like a Nazi) as it is for the perfectly choreographed slapstick. In one memorable scene, the group waits on a massive line to get into the Louvre in Paris as a street entertainer mimicking a robot begins performing. Cooper, who gets creeped out by the French robot man, sics Scotty on the Parisian. Scotty then challenges the performer to a sort of “dance-off,” a fist fight in traditional robot style. The scene is surprising because it is so hilariously irreverent and yet it lives out a revenge fantasy against mimes I’m sure many people share.
Even so, the story occasionally borders on ridiculous. Though some of the plot turns are for the best of the film, they stretch credibility. For example, when the group is trapped in the middle of Bratislava and are gathering what cash they have left to escape, they discover they are with only $1.83. What do they do? They end up in the finest five-star hotel treated as royalty, simply because the exchange rate of American to Bratislavan dollars.
The producers behind Eurotrip have a good formula going here. Like Road Trip and last year’s sleeper Old School, the film works so well because it has a good story with a lot of warmth behind it. The characters have goals that they work toward, and our young hero is not a moronic horn dog traveling thousands of miles for a quickie. Films like Eurotrip are a reminder of how wonderful a comedy aimed at our youth can be. I guess the key is to replace the fart with a little heart.