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dir Ken Scott
scr Steve Conrad
prd Arnon Milchan, Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Steve Tisch, Anthony Katagas
with Vince Vaughn, Tom Wilkinson, Dave Franco, Sienna Miller, Nick Frost, James Marsden, June Diane Raphael, Britton Sear, Ella Anderson, Carmen Lopez, Uwe Ochsenknecht, Bonita Friedericy
release US/UK 6.Mar.15
15/US Regency 1h31
Americans abroad: Franco, Wilkinson and Vaughn
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
Something clearly has gone terribly wrong with what was supposed to be a riotous comedy but instead is a disastrous misfire. Not only isn't there a decent laugh in the movie, but the tone is all over the place, often veering wildly within a scene between a prudish but sniggering sex romp and a self-sabotaging sentimental comedy-drama.
Fed up with his aggressive boss Chuck (Miller), salesman Dan (Vaughn) strikes out on his own with recently retired Tim (Wilkinson) and novice airhead Mike (Franco). A year later, their company depends on making a big deal with Bill and Jim (Frost and Marsden), but Chuck has swooped in to steal it. So Dan, Tim and Mike head to Maine and then Berlin to get that essential handshake. Meanwhile, Dan's wife (Raphael) is struggling back home with issues affecting their kids (Sear and Anderson).
The script piles on so many random events and plot-threads that it's tricky to keep anything in focus. This includes an utterly spurious road trip across Germany to make a deal in a sauna, plus the fact that Berlin is simultaneously hosting its marathon, the G8 Summit (with accompanying protests), the Folsom gay S&M festival and Oktoberfest. So the only hotel room Dan can get is as an exhibit in a museum, while Tim and Mike stay in a buzzed-out youth hostel. It's just exhausting.
There isn't a moment in this film that makes sense, as the filmmakers pile so many wacky elements into each scene that they cancel each other out. Every half-decent idea is undermined by something utterly inane. So the characters become, frankly, embarrassing. Vaughn playing an inexplicably efficient version of his usual persona, while Franco and Wilkinson are stuck in humiliating roles that bear no resemblance to actual humans. And Frost is saddled with the most staggeringly unfunny gag.
Oddly for such a sex-obsessed comedy, the filmmakers can't decide whether they like, want to make fun of or are terrified of sex (usually it's all three at the same time). And they more than undermine their overstated message about bullying by creating characters who constantly bully each other for laughs. There's an enjoyable idea at the centre of this mess, and a cast that's more than up to the challenge. But audiences craving a silly movie about Americans abroad would be much better off revisiting 2004's gem EuroTrip.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2015 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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