Vacation does a great job of setting the mood in it’s opening credits. On top of the Lyndsay Buckingham Holiday Road song, they add in a bunch of embarrassing real life vacation photos. These include, people who went out to have the best time of their lives only to discover that the bad comes with the good even on vacation. There are several slides that include untimely erections, and other embarrassing incidents. It shows what family vacations are all about and more importantly, it reminds you of the original National Lampoon’s Vacation.
The original three were a huge deal in my youth. It was one of those series that my family would watch over and over again. If it was summer, fall or winter, it seemed that we always had one of the titles popped in the VCR. That being said, there was no way that this film could live up to the originals for me.
The story follows Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms) and his family. The lovable loser, who usually takes his family on vacation to the same cabin every year, realizes that he wants to mix things up and bring the family closer together. He decides to take them all to Wally World in hopes that it will do to his family what the original vacation did for his family, growing up.
Of course, all the shenanigans that you would figure would happen, do happen. There are a few call backs to the original Vacation films, like Rusty renting the ugliest and most confusing car in the world to take his family on the trip. The biggest call back is Rusty and his family visiting Clark and Ellen Griswold which is complete with some classic bad father advice and some trademark Chevy Chase physical humor.
Ed Helms and crew do a good job of living up to the quirk of the Griswold lineage. Wife, Debbie (Christina Applegate) Griswold plays a good match for Ed Helms. His kids James and Kevin (Steele Stebbins and Skyler Gisondo) are a funny addition as well. Stebbins is the bad mouthed kid that bullies his older brother, the first half of the movie he gets annoying really fast but in the last half of the movie he actually becomes part of the comedy.
Vacation has some laugh out loud moments but fills in the charm of the older films with raunchier comedy that we are accustomed to from films of late like Horrible Bosses or Knocked up. Usually I would be all about that sort of comedy, but this is a sequel to a franchise. Being such, it should have a lot more of the same feeling as its predecessors.
I can’t say I hated “Vacation” I felt like the arrival at WallyWorld was half thought-out and ultimately too short. It didn’t live up to the showdown that Chevy Chase had with the Marty Moose and John Candy at National Lampoon Vacation’s finale. There is enough within this road tripper to fill in the runtime nicely and does a good enough job of entertaining you to where you won’t be busy looking at your watch wondering what else you could have been doing instead.