Starring: Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Skyler Gisondo, Steele Stebbins, Chris Hemsworth, Leslie Mann, Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo
Directed By: John Francis Daley, Jonathan M. Goldstein
Written By: John Francis Daley, Jonathan M. Goldstein
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 1 hr 39 min
I’ll be honest, I was all set to hate this film. Being that it was a reboot/remake/sequel of a movie I was never in love with, and the scenes shown in the trailer looked awful. I was ready for yet another failed Hollywood comedy, that would contrive idiotic situations in a desperate attempt to get a laugh, and operate in some bizarre world where all the main characters have to be stupid morons in order to move the plot forward. Seriously, I even had a spot picked out in my top 10 worst movies of the year! I was that confident this would suck.
However, in the final analysis, I think I was 60% right about this film. Or 40% wrong, however you want to look at it. My glass mostly full or nearly empty? Eternal optimist or part-time pessimist? Anyway, I digress.
It’s true, it does contain some truly stupid scenes that blend (not merely bend or strain) credulity. Like the ‘Griswold Springs’ bit, or the bizarre Tartan Prancer rental car. Don’t get me started on the ‘Rimjob’ conversation either! But it also had some huge laugh out loud moments, like when Debbie (a.k.a ‘Debbie Do Anything’, Christina Applegate) tries to relive her college days by attempting the ‘chug run’ – a game she invented back in the day. Rusty Griswold’s Quad adventures herding cattle also yielded a surprisingly funny moment too.
I also enjoyed the abusive relationship between the overly sensitive James Griswold (Skyler Gisondo), and his younger bullying brother, Kevin (Steele Stebbins). The latter’s blunt foul mouth being a frequent highlight during the film. Like when he suddenly slaps his brother and commands he ‘stop saying weird s***!’ But at every turn, Vacation lets itself down by telegraphing its jokes, and sticking too closely to the old Griswold family adventure play book. Which was frequently referred to in an attempt (I believe) to placate the fans of the original.
I personally don’t remember too many specific moments from the original Vacation, so I’m not sure if fans of that film will enjoy this latest incarnation. I’m betting they won’t, but the nice lady working at the theater I visited told me she mostly enjoyed it – though still preferred the original . The movie is rated R due to language, sexual content and brief nudity.
This could wait for a rental at home on any device you care to watch it on.
I really enjoyed Debbie’s attempt at the ‘chug run!’