3 items from 2004
NEW YORK -- Focus Features International has acquired overseas rights to the directorial debut of Jacob Aaron Estes, Mean Creek, which has been tapped as a Cannes Directors Fortnight selection. Paramount Classics already holds Creek's North American, U.K. and Australian rights from a previous pact, struck just after the film screened at the Sundance Film Festival. (HR 2/12) Set in a small Oregon town, Creek stars Rory Culkin, Ryan Kelley, Scott Mechlowicz, Trevor Morgan, Josh Peck and Carly Schroeder in the story of a group of teens whose lives begin to unravel in the aftermath of a life-altering crisis. Estes also penned the screenplay. Rick Rosenthal, Susan Johnson and Hagai Shaham produced Creek through the Whitewater Films banner. Whitewater's upcoming credits include Nearing Grace, with John Wells Prods. and Killer Films. The Creek deal was brokered for Focus by executive vp of international sales and distribution Glen Basner and vp of acquisitions Jason Resnick. »
Friday, Feb. 20
Just as National Lampoon's Vacation begat "National Lampoon's European Vacation," so, too, has 2000's hit Road Trip paved the way for Eurotrip. And while it might have been tempting to this dismiss teen comedy as Eurotrash, it really isn't that bad, sophomorically speaking.
Although a number of the gags fall flatter than a crepe, the accent is on the charmingly juvenile as opposed to the purely puerile, with a fresh-faced cast of amiable young performers on hand to make the trek relatively painless.
Obviously DreamWorks, which is giving the picture the slot occupied this time last year by Old School (also from the Road Trip producing team), is looking to capture some of that boxoffice magic, and while Eurotrip isn't nearly as comically inspired, it should still play well with young male-skewing audiences.
Back when Road Trip hit the streets, the gross-out comedy was in full American Pie-fertilized bloom, but with the subgenre having thankfully bottomed out, the new breed likes to mix a little more naivete in with the naughty bits.
Hence the central character of Scotty, played by newcomer Scott Mechlowicz with the same sort of Jason Biggs nice-guy goofiness, a high school grad who finds himself en route to Europe to hook up with his German Internet pen pal Mieke (Jessica Boehrs) shortly after he was very publicly dumped by his girlfriend Fiona (Kristin Kreuk).
But before he gets to Berlin, Scotty and his sex-obsessed Buddy Cooper (Jacob Pitts) make pit stops in London and Paris -- where they hook up with friends Jenny (Michelle Trachtenberg) and her Frommer's Guide-wielding twin brother Jamie (Travis Wester) -- before moving on to Amsterdam, Bratislava, Rome and Vatican City.
Along the way they must deal with British soccer hooligans, annoying French human robots, a merciless Dutch dominatrix (Lucy Lawless) and a creepy, lascivious Italian guy on the train (Saturday Night Live's Fred Armisen).
Not all of it works, but the bright cast makes it mainly agreeable, as do the supporting players, including Matt Damon in a cameo as a tattooed rocker who performs (courtesy of the band Lustra) the very funny and very catchy Scotty Doesn't Know, which takes stock of Scotty's ex-girlfriend's various infidelities.
Making his directorial debut is Jeff Schaffer, who, along with fellow scripters Alec Berg and David Mandel, were former editors of the Harvard Lampoon before graduating to Seinfeld and more recently collaborated on Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat.
Their gently risque style seems better suited to the teen sex comedy than to Dr. Seuss, but the most impressive work here is done by production designer Allan Starski (Schindler's List) and visual effects supervisor Kevin Blank, who manage to create reasonable facsimiles of all the above-mentioned destinations without ever setting foot off of the production's Prague home base.
DreamWorks Pictures presentsa Montecito Picture Co. productionA Berg/Mandel/Schaffer film
Director: Jeff Schaffer
Screenwriters: Alec Berg & David Mandel & Jeff Schaffer
Executive producers: Ivan Reitman, Tom Pollick, Joe Medjuck
Director of photography: David Eggby
Production designer: Allan Starski
Editor: Roger Bondelli
Costume designer: Julia Caston
Music: James L. Venable
Scotty Thomas: Scott Mechlowicz
Jenny: Michelle Trachtenberg
Cooper Harris: Jacob Pitts
Jamie: Travis Wester
Mieke: Jessica Boehrs
Madame Vandersexxx: Lucy Lawless
Mad Maynard: Vinnie Jones
Creepy Italian Guy: Fred Armisen
Donny: Matt Damon
Fiona: Kristin Kreuk
Running time -- 92 minutes
MPAA rating: R »
1 February 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »
DreamWorks has put up the sails to acquire The Island from scribe Caspian Treadwell-Owen for mid-six against seven figures with Michael Bay attached to direct. The sci-fi thriller is being described as a cross between The Fugitive and The Matrix. Specifics of the plot are being closely guarded. At the studio, production topper Michael De Luca and production executive Adam Goodman brought the script in and will oversee its development. The Beyond Borders scribe Treadwell-Owen is repped by CAA. Bay is repped by WMA and Robert Offer at Offer, Weber & Dern. He last directed Bad Boys II starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence for Columbia Pictures. He signed with WMA in October, the week after The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which he produced through his Platinum Dunes along with Mike Fleiss, opened at No. 1. DreamWorks next releases the Montecito Picture Co. comedy Eurotrip. Penned by Alec Berg, David Mandel and Jeff Schaffer, the film stars Michelle Trachtenberg, Scott Mechlowicz, Jacob Pitts and Travis Wester. »
3 items from 2004
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