I was going to write about a new album release today, but then my wife and I watched the 2015 comedy adventure film from writer / directors Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley (both “Horrible Bosses”, “Game Night”) titled “Vacation”. We both enjoyed it so much I felt it deserved a few words…
The movie is the fifth in a series that started back in 1983 with the release of “National Lampoon’s Vacation” which told the story of the Griswold family taking a road trip cross-country to the Californian theme park Walley World and all the misadventures that befell them en route. This was followed by “National Lampoon’s European Vacation” (1985), “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (1989) and “Vegas Vacation” (1997).
“Vacation” is a kind of sequel / reboot of the first film, with the son of the original Griswold family, Rusty (Ed Helms – “Stretch”, “We’re The Millers”), now grown up, decides to take his wife and two children on a trip to try to recreate his childhood trip to Walley World.
Rusty’s wife Debbie (Christina Applegate – “Married With Children”, “Bad Moms”) was hoping for a trip to Paris but she and the couple’s two sons – 14-year-old James (Skyler Gisondo – “Hard Sell”, “Night At The Museum 2”) and 12-year-old Kevin (Steele Stebbins – “A Haunted House 2”, “Within”) agreed to the trip to avoid the usual annual trip to a cabin in Cheboygan that they secretly hate.
The tag line for the film is “what could go wrong” and it’s giving nothing away to anyone even vaguely familiar with earlier entries in the series to say that an awful lot is likely to go wrong!
Among the more hilarious moments on the family’s journey is their visit to Debbie’s old college where she decides to show the current Tri Pi sorority sisters how things are done, and their stay-over with Rusty’s sister Audrey (Leslie Mann – “The Comedian”, “The Other Woman”) and her husband Stone (Chris Hemsworth – “A Perfect Getaway”, “Thor”) on their cattle ranch.
There’s also a very funny scene featuring model Hannah Davis which references one in the original that saw fellow model Christie Brinkley driving a red Ferrari. To keep some authenticity in terms of continuity, I’m guessing, Rusty’s parents Clark and Ellen are reprised by original stars Chevy Chase (“Fletch”, “Caddyshack”) and Beverly D’Angelo (“High Spirits”, “American History X”).
Some of the content means that this is most definitely not a film that you could watch with younger children. Many reviewers have talked of the film being too much of a retread of the first movie but lacking in spirit and wit. We thought that potty-mouthed Kevin is a great character and I thought Applegate was brilliant as Debbie and Helms did a great job with his role too. Overall whilst it may not be the most original film in the world – which is surely a nigh-on impossible task these days anyway? – we both found it to be really funny and would thoroughly recommend it…