(Photo Credit: DreamWorks)

EuroTrip: Looking Back at the Raunchy Comedy 20 Years Later

There is the thought that films resonate more with us based on where we are in our lives at the time we first encounter them. Back in 2004, I thought EuroTrip was incredibly clever and funny, but figured it would age poorly and show its faults more on consecutive re-watches. That was absolutely true, yet I still find myself laughing at this movie, and it may have even been part of the inspiration I needed to import a British wife. For all of the ways this juvenile comedy can be torn apart, EuroTrip still has plenty of frequent flier miles to offer.

Twenty years or so ago, audiences were really into raunchy teen sex comedies, and EuroTrip was prepared to take the idea abroad. For most, the day we graduate high school is a glorious one, but for Scott Thomas (Scott Mechlowicz), it’s also the day his beautiful girlfriend Fiona (Kristin Kreuk) drops the pretense of their committed relationship and dumps him. If that weren’t bad enough, the life band at the party that night performs a song about all of the ways she’s been cheating on him, and he bungles his chance with the only other love interest in his life due to a simple mistranslation. Now, Scotty and his friend Cooper (Jacob Pitts) are going to Europe, where they’ll meet up with the twins Jenny (Michelle Trachtenberg) and Jamie (Travis Wester) in an attempt to find Mieke (Jessica Boehrs) and make things right. Obviously, it’s a tour de Force of awkward comedy.

Okay, no, it’s like the rest of this sub-genre, more interesting to those who prefer crude humor, vulgar situational gags, and some seriously unabashed nudity. The acting is serviceable, with it slipping in a few parts, and the best overall performances probably go to the twins, who aren’t the main characters and have incest as one of their biggest story points. There are, however, a lot of fun cameos.

Apparently, it IS about who you know. Jeff Schaffer is listed as the director of the film, but Alec Berg and David Mandel reportedly shared in those duties as well. All three men also wrote the film and reached back to their college chums and acquaintances they had made in the industry to secure some interesting surprises for guest roles in the film. Names like Lucy Lawless, Patrick Malahide, Diedrich Bader, and Fred Armisen all show up in the credits, while Jeffrey Tambor appears uncredited. But the two that viewers seem to remember the most are Vinnie Jones as the soccer hooligan and Matt Damon pretending to belt out the lyrics to Lustra’s “Scotty Doesn’t Know.” Damon still has people shouting that phrase at him randomly on the street, and why not? The song is iconic, being heard multiple times and in different versions during the movie. The actor also claims that the musical triumph was written by the brother of his college roommate, making the circle of weirdness around EuroTrip complete.

The unrated version of the film comes in at 92 minutes and there is a lot crammed into there, but not all of the pacing works. Scott’s trip also requires the group to make their way through several destinations around Europe, but the majority of the actual film was shot in Prague. This meant that several stand-in locations that were obviously not the real places had to be used, and a large amount of green screen was necessary to help complete the illusion. One of the advantages of filming in Europe seemed to be that the party scenes had real beer, resulting in several people on set being at least slightly intoxicated.

The original script went through several alterations. The initial title was Ugly Americans, and the producers all objected to the change, but at the end of the day, they had no leverage. EuroTrip stuck, supposedly in an attempt to remind people of Road Trip in hopes that some of its success might rub off on the company’s new project. On paper, many of the scenes were raunchier, extra offensive, had harsher language, and featured even more male and female nudity. There were also supposed to be more cameos, but you can’t convince everyone to spend their free time flying to Prague, which is why most of the actors were already there for other projects. 

The only scene that was actually more toned down originally was the nude beach sequence, where they decided to simply go with “wall-to-wall penises” for greater laughs. This may have backfired, however, as many of the men opted not to get dressed in between takes, and according to Trachtenberg, the “lack of shyness” made things quite awkward. The two biggest changes were removing the scene intended to be at the Anne Frank House – which is in script form on the DVD – and replacing it with Cooper’s adventures at Club Vandersexxx, featuring Mrs. Lawless and her two assistants, Hans and Gruber, as well as the first ending, which they filmed, but was much more depressing.

EuroTrip is an unbalanced film that did not do well at the box office, finding some success after the theatrical release and becoming something more of a shining light for people who like this type of humor. The Frommers people didn’t even really like it, and that movie pimps out their guides the whole time. Now, it may be harder for the movie to pick up new fans, as some of its humor and lewd gags just haven’t aged well over the last two decades. Much of what they were trying to poke fun at (evidenced by the original title) feels awkward but sometimes borderlines on decent satire, but it’s hard to say if that was on accident or not. All three producers have worked on shows like Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm, so it’s easy to see where their comedy roots come from. There are some genuinely hilarious moments in EuroTrip, though, and I can’t help but want to catch up with these characters again, but I certainly hope this isn’t how I act when traveling back overseas. 

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