In light of our recent crackdown on runaway nudity, the steady stream of exposed breasts in the gnarly "Eurotrip" give it a nostalgic feel. When one randy guy lands himself in a hot tub and talks a girl into removing her bikini top, it feels like 2003 all over again.
Raunchy teen comedies, meanwhile, never go away long enough to miss them properly. "Eurotrip" has allegedly been brought by the producers behind 2000's "Road Trip" and last year's "Old School," and it's a credible, if runty, addition to the family.
Those two movies were absurd circuses of male hormones and identifiable universes where college kids were eager to grow up, and the grown-ups were depressed that they had. The makers of those films, Todd Phillips and Scot Armstrong, skipped a third episode and made the upcoming "Starsky and Hutch" instead. It's just as well: "Eurotrip" is just "Road Trip" with a ratty passport.
The gears of the plot remain unchanged and unpolished: Boy drags three friends on long-distance quest for girl. The wrinkle here is the discovery by Scotty (Scott Mechlowicz) that the affectionate German pen pal whom he spurns for being a dude is actually a chick. So Scotty and his sex-crazed pal Cooper (Jacob Pitts) agree to spend their last summer before college making their way to Berlin to win back the lass (Jessica Boehrs).
Each of the gawky boys in this movie seems very far from any sort of manhood. They don't even seem bound for the 10th grade, let alone college. Cooper, who looks and thinks like a young, mangy David Spade, actually has the poignant ancestral goal of rekindling his European sexual heritage. As far as he's concerned, America was founded by prudes, and all the repression's got him down. (This might be the first teen comedy to suggest that the house that the Paris Hilton sex tape and the Coors Light twins built is not a home.)
"Eurotrip," which appears to be disillusioned with how juvenile and teasing American notions of sex can be, celebrates its R-rating like a kid on his 21st birthday. It ups the physical-contact ante enough for you to forget that some of its writers are the nincompoops who loaded "The Cat in the Hat" with sex jokes.
In Paris, Scotty and Cooper meet up with their sibling pals Jenny (Michelle Trachtenberg) and Jamie (Travis Wester), whom Cooper describes as "the worst twins ever." In Amsterdam, uptight Jamie gets lucky (and robbed) in a dark alley, while Cooper (always Cooper) is treated to the whims of Lucy Lawless in an S&M parlor called Club VanDerSexxx. The Europe these kids discover is a pop-up book, consistent only with other people's exaggerations of trips taken when they were 18.
Scotty and Cooper run into Vinnie Jones leading a bunch of crazed soccer hooligans, whom they tame with a singalong to an old Sheena Easton chestnut. (It's a welcome antidote to the soundtrack's pimple rock.) There's also a nice mime-off between Scotty and a Parisian (J.P. Manoux) in silver body paint, some naughty stuff at the Vatican, and a hilarious flagrant assault on the Eastern European outlook, namely Bratislava's. There, apparently, $1.83 gets you the royal P-Diddy treatment.
The movie could've lived without the molesting Italian (Fred Armisen), and it would've been stronger with more than one fully developed female character. It even offers scores of male frontal nudes in a beach scene that turns into a riff on zombie movies. It's in keeping with the movie's cheerful homophobia and its sunny misogyny. Still, "Eurotrip" is sort of admirable: Unlike its peers, it's tired of talking about sex and is ready to have some.
Wesley Morris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.