Vacation – The Griswolds are back and nearly as funny as before!
War of the Movies: 8.0/10
Directed by John Francis Daley, Jonathan M. Goldstein
Released on July 29, 2015
Running Time: 99 minutes
Starring: Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Skyler Gisondo, Steele Stabbins, Chris Hemsworth
The Griswolds are back and this time, it’s not Clark that wants to take his family on a vacation but his son Rusty. His plan? To take his wife, Debbie, and his two sons, James and Kevin, on a road trip across the country, from Chicago to Walley World theme park in California, were Clark took his kids 32 years ago in the first National Lampoon’s Vacation. Rusty has this idea after realizing that his family is not happy with spending another vacation at the same cabin like they did for the last ten years. Thinking it could be great idea to bring his family together, the four of them gear up in a very unusual car for a vacation they will never forget!
The story itself can very well be considerate as a reboot and not some type of remake as many thought it would be, the jokes are new and refreshing with great flashbacks of the first film. The concept is simple enough, but what makes this movie so great is the lightness and constant flow brought to us by Daley and Goldstein, who made a great effort to put a quick setting, taking enough time to explain what goes wrong in this crazy family and why Rusty wants to change his vacation location, without taking too much unnecessary time of the film. Even if some jokes are idiotic, the way it was brought to life in the movie makes it almost impossible not to laugh. And of course, it wouldn’t have been a Griswolds road trip without the song Holiday Road!
A thumb up for me was the parts of the script that explains the importance of spending time with your family, how even if the journey can turn out to be hellish, it makes the destination even better. The message was loud and clear without overdoing it and killing the comedy side of the film.
Is it better than the first? No it is not, or at least in my opinion it is not! The film is a good comedy in general, but there’s still some scenes that we could have easily live without. Many gags turned out to be quite clever, like the little brother who picks up on the eldest, or how bad can a car be! However, what I think was unfortunate was that the least funny sequence of the movie is when Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo makes an appearance as the classic characters Clark and Ellen Griswolds. What could have become an iconic scene turns out to be a mere stop the family has to do that doesn’t seem to be that necessary. The jokes are few and far between, Chevy Chase gives us the impression that he put all that he had in this franchise years ago and now doesn’t really have the heart to continue, and Beverly D’Angelo didn’t really speak a word except for a hello when her son’s family arrives at the Bed and Breakfast the older couple are now running.
Watching Ed Helms as Rusty Griswolds made us think of his character Stu in Hangover; he starts as someone who wants to have fun without overdoing it, to learning it can be good to let loose every once in a while. It shows pretty quickly that is he used to this kind of film, giving us good mimics, however, he is not the funniest one and neither is Christina Applegate who played his wife Debbie. Even though overall she does a good job and is right down funny with a great complicity with Helms, the surprise remains the two young sons played by Skyler Gisondo and Steele Stebbins; even when Helms and Applegate where not in the scene, those two young men managed to captivate our attention with their credibility and made us laugh much more often than I expected. Don’t expect to see a lot more of Helms than any others, he is not the only principle character in the film, every other member of the family are as important to the story as he his and we see each of them pretty often.
When you are watching a comedy in a theater full of people that can’t stop laughing to the point where they even clapped their hands, you know that the film delivered in a very well-mannered what people wants to see, and this is exactly what happened during Vacation’s representation. Overall, even if there’s some flat line scenes, it’s a good comedy that will make you laugh nearly more often than not.
Should I see it?
If you are a diehard fan of the first one and expect the same kind of jokes or if you prefer comedy with thoughtful jokes, you are going to be disappointed since the humor turned out to be more idiotic, but if you don’t really care and just want to relax and laugh, then for you Vacation can still be an honorable Griswolds family vacation sequel.