Whatever one thinks of '80s teen comedies, few would dispute that they dwarfed their bland successors in the 1990s. The teen flicks of the last decade aped the '80s John Hughes (Sixteen Candles) model but lacked any bite. Their music--particularly the ubiquitous Whiny Alternative Rock Guy Voice--was uniformly despicable; their casts had all the charisma of spoiled offspring of corporate executives, which they often were; they all brandished PG-13 ratings, and even that pipsqueak rating oversold their naughtiness. Promisingly, the last few years have seen a few movies directed towards teens that boast a certain joie de vivre (Bring It On) or have decided that it's OK for young people to act (out) their age again (Road Trip).
Add Eurotrip to that list. Like the two aforementioned titles, Eurotrip feels like it was made not by disapproving parents but rather by people who remember young adulthood (perhaps even fondly). Like Bring It On, it maintains a high energy level and moves very quickly; like Road Trip, it knows that, in this genre, it never hurts to punctuate a joke with healthy doses of nudity. Eurotrip also boasts some choice cameos (particularly current Saturday Night Live cutup Fred Armisen) and a classic teen-flick storyline.
On the day of his graduation, Scott Thomas' (Scott Mechlowicz) girlfriend breaks up with him, calling him too predictable. Egged on by his crass best friend, Cooper Harris (Jacob Pitts), Scott decides to head to Europe to woo his gorgeous German computer pen pal Mieke (Jessica Böhrs). Cooper comes along, and before long they join up with fellow grads--and mismatched twins--Jenny (Michelle Trachtenberg), a pretty tomboy, and Jamie (Travis Wester), an obsessive-compulsive shutterbug. Tracking down Mieke proves more difficult than they imagined, but along the way, they check out some happening European hangouts--French nude beaches, Amsterdam sex clubs, and, well, the Vatican.
Eurotrip travels overpacked with outrageous jokes, though one might wish a higher percentage hit home. Cooper has a tag line that hangs in the air insignificantly each time he utters it. A fight scene involving a Parisian mime starts off funny, but drags on inexplicably. In general, the film has some major timing issues--which is surprising, since director Jeff Schaffer and his co-writers Alec Berg and David Mandel all served as Seinfeld scribes. Still, its playful stabs at the American teenager (and Stupid American-ism in general), balanced with its insistence that young people deserve young-people fun, keep the proceedings pleasant and amusing even when they fall short of uproarious.