There must be a few high school sophomores who would enjoy a movie like EuroTrip but not enough, I would think, to merit the actual production of such movie. But I guess I’m wrong; Rotten Tomatoes tells me the film has a 75% audience approval rating, and it always makes its way to my Netflix “recommended” queue. Despite acclaim from the masses, however, this raunchy road trip number aims for the lower ranks of the teen movie genre and just cannonballs into a pit of tasteless sludge.

Like similar movies, it begins on graduation day, that adolescent sweet spot when life seems ripe with possibility and but without any of the responsibility. Scott (Scott Mechlowicz) has big plans for himself and his girlfriend, like going to college together, but it turns out she’s been cheating on him with Matt Damon disguised as a punk rocker. He turns to his email German pen pal, Mieke, who suggests a meeting between the two. Scott mistakes Mieke for a sexual predator and a dude and immediately cuts contact.

Keeping in mind that Scott is a fresh graduate and thus presumably intelligent, you have to wonder why he never worked it out that Mieke is in fact a girl. But this is the kind of people who inhabit the movie, and you just have to roll with the idea that the next logical thing for him to do is fly to Europe to apologize, make amends, and hopefully make out with his unseen friend. Luckily he doesn’t have to go solo. Since this is a white upper middle class sort of world, his friend Cooper (Jacob Pitts) and twins Jenny and Jamie (Michelle Trachtenberg and Travis Wester) possess limitless time and funds to accompany Scott.

What should follow is an impressive road/train/boat trip that doubles as a last high school hurrah, but EuroTrip dispenses with nostalgia in favor of getting on with the naughty bits. It almost made me long for the cheesiness of post-graduation house parties (à la Can’t Hardly Wait) where everyone gets drunk, past transgressions are forgiven, and the hot people hook up with the nerds, all in the service of bringing one life chapter to a close so that young people can learn to accept who they are.

What we get instead is a Venn diagram of European stereotypes and sex scenes dreamt up by high school boys. As the four friends make their way across the continent, they find themselves in disturbing situations that no education could have prepared them for. There’s a kinky dominatrix in Amsterdam, a sex friendly confessional at the Vatican, potential absinthe-induced incest in Slovakia, and a French mime. The lewdness is purely thrown about for shock value, and as startling as it might be for some people to see a screen full of willies (nude beach, naturally), none of this is daring. Rather than align sexual discovery with the characters, every international stop is just meant to hurl you onto the next bizarre destination.

Released: 2004
Prod: Alec Berg, David Mandel, Daniel Goldberg, Jackie Marcus, Joe Medjuck
Dir: Jeff Schaffer
Writer: Jeff Schaffer, Alec Berg, David Mandel
Cast: Scott Mechlowicz, Jacob Pitts, Michelle Trachtenberg, Travis Wester, Jessica Boehrs, Kristin Kreuk, Vinnie Jones, J. P. Manoux, Fred Armisen, Joanna Lumley, Lucy Lawless, Diedrich Bader, Jeffrey Tambor, Matt Damon
Time: 92 min
Lang: English
Country: United States
Reviewed: 2016