• Being another "teen sex comedy" featuring a generalized fear of sex and/or eroticism
• Featuring a set of teenage American tourist characters who are willfully stupid about Europe, and a bunch of grotesque European characters who live down to every old-world cliché
• Trying to make a catchphrase out of the dopey line, "This isn't where I parked my car!"
Defenders: Writer-director Jeff Schaffer and co-writers Alec Berg and David Mandel
Tone of commentary: Jovial, apologetic. Schaffer promises to explain "how to screw up a movie," and when he and his writers aren't calling for viewers to play the spot-the-continuity-problem game "Train/No Train," they're teasing each other about busted gags. Berg: "This is Jeff's favorite thing in the entire movie, this stupid jackalope T-shirt, which is not funny, but which he swears is a joke." Schaffer: "I don't think it's a joke, I just think it brings pleasure to those who see it."
What went wrong: A lack of time and money. Budget constraints forced them to do multiple setups per day, and by the time they'd figured out the best way to shoot in a location, they'd already moved on to the next one. Also, the movie was shot almost entirely in Prague, and Mandel inadvertently reveals some of the film's larger problems when he complains how the Czech toilets don't look right for the American scenes, while insisting that Prague doubles reasonably well for the whole of London, Paris, and Amsterdam.
Comments on the cast: Amusing cameos by Jeffrey Tambor and Matt Damon came about because both were already working in Prague (on Hellboy and The Brothers Grimm, respectively). Schaffer says that it was hard to get any other American actors to fly over for bit parts, because "SARS was at its peak then."
Inevitable dash of pretension: A shot of a dog with a severed human hand in its mouth is "a highfalutin allusion to Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo."
The commentary in a nutshell: Schaffer, on the topless hot-tub scene: "We wanted to answer the question 'What is beyond gratuitous?'"