The 2015 summer movie season has seen more than its share of disappointments. Some movies have played as expected, but there have been very few surprises.
The announcement that there would be a new “Vacation” movie was not met with much enthusiasm. In fact, it wasn’t met with much of anything; a shoulder shrug at most. However, it is one of the bigger surprises of the summer as it is not only a real funny movie, but an enjoyable one too.
Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms), son of Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase), feels his family is in a rut. Every summer they take the same boring vacation to a cabin, but this year he wants to do something different, something that can help bring his family closer together. He remembers the car trip he took with his family 30-years ago to Walley World and believes that is just the right formula for his family. What could go wrong? Perhaps Rusty doesn’t remember the original vacation that well.
“Vacation” gets the laughs going from the opening titles and keeps them coming with the first scene in the movie. That is important. Often comedies start off with a laugh, but don’t always keep you laughing. Many of them want to wait until the end to bowl you over. This movie has a lot to live up to given the 1983 classic and if it waits too long to get you laughing, it would probably be too late.
Some movies take themselves too seriously, even comedies. (I’m looking in your direction “Trainwreck”.) There is a scene in “Vacation” where the family exchanges such dialogue as, “So you want to redo your vacation from 30-years ago?” “This will be completely different.” “I’ve never even heard of the original vacation.” Finally, “The new vacation will stand on its own.” It’s refreshing to see a movie be unafraid to make fun of itself.
The movie is littered with great cameo appearances from start to finish. Almost all of them are hysterical. One of the best belongs to Chris Hemsworth who plays Audrey Griswold’s husband. Most of us know him as Thor from the Marvel movies and he has not really dabbled in comedies before. He’s a natural. He is very comfortable in all his scenes, which he practically steals from all the other actors, including the always funny Leslie Mann. He is scheduled to be in next year’s “Ghostbusters” and, after seeing him in “Vacation”, it only makes you anticipate with smiles his next effort.
The only let-down cameo appearance belongs to Chevy Chase. You would think fans of the original movie would be most excited to see Clark Griswold return to a “Vacation” movie again, but he hardly makes much of an effort. His “Saturday Night Live” alum, Bill Murray still can bring the hard core laughs when called upon, but Chevy is more or less phoning it in these days.
The big movie for this weekend will obviously be the new Mission: Impossible. However, if that movie is sold out or you just want to have a great time at the movies where you are laughing from beginning to end, go see “Vacation.” It is rated R for crude and sexual content and language throughout, with brief graphic nudity. If the studio pushed for this to be rated PG-13, as studios often do in hopes of getting a larger audience (I’m looking in your direction “Terminator: Genisys), the movie probably would have sucked!