Spider-Man: Far from Home: Hollywood’s fixation with Euro cliches | Film

“I may not know much but I do know that Europeans love Americans,” Peter Parker’s sidekick Ned tells him as they set off on their school trip. But if Spider-Man: Far from Home tells us anything, it’s that Americans sure love Europe, or at least the movie version of it, which tends to consist of tourist sights, sexually liberated women and little else.

Spider-Man resolutely sticks to the beaten track in terms of the sights. Venice is canals, pigeons, the Rialto bridge and masks. London is Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and the Shard. And “Holland” (it’s clearly a set) is signified by a windmill, round cheeses, unpronounceable place names and a field of tulips. A pair of clogs and we could have had a full house.

Obliging females are also part of the Euro-bingo scorecard, it seems. In National Lampoon’s European Vacation, for example, the Griswolds’ teenage son Rusty dreams of legions of women lusting after him, just like Ned does. In reality, Rusty is mocked by French girls at the Eiffel Tower for wearing a silly beret, but he is later found by his dad in a nightclub with a prostitute. Wait, what?

Or perhaps Ned was thinking of EuroTrip, in which horny American teens come in search of casual sex and instead find gay Dutch S&M, predatory Italian men, Hitler jokes and Vinnie Jones. The nudist beach is full of guys like them, hoping to ogle some naked women (viewers, by contrast, get plenty to ogle at). Still, that’s getting off lightly compared to the sex tourists of Eli Roth’s Hostel, who seek cheap thrills in Slovakia, and pay a heavy, bloody, torture-porny price for their American ignorance.

British cinema is no better: from James Bond to The Inbetweeners (“It’ll be like shooting clunge in a barrel”), UK films love to portray the continent as a land of lusty stereotypes. French, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, eastern European, but especially Swedish: from our prudish perspective they’re all more up for it than we are. So it is probably just as well, for their sakes and ours, that Peter Parker and Ned barely even speak to any Europeans on their trip, although the movie can’t resist throwing in a tall, blond Austrian woman who commands Parker to remove his clothes.

Perhaps the last word was on this topic was already had in 2002, in Roger Avary’s adaptation of The Rules of Attraction, which was broadly forgettable apart from one virtuoso, speeded-up montage of a character’s European vacation. It covers it all: London, Venice, Paris, Amsterdam, and countless other destinations; drugs, sex, parties and tourist sights – all of which our privileged narrator finds pretty boring. It is a genuine home movie of a two-week trip cut down to four giddily entertaining minutes. That’s really all we need.

Spider-Man: Far from Home is in UK cinemas now

Source link