There is no denying that 1983s National Lampoon’s Vacation is a comedy classic. It spawned numerous sequels with only Christmas Vacation being able to fully live up to the original. There had been talks of a remake that of course no one wanted, but instead they went the sequel route with the aptly titled Vacation starring Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Skyler Gisondo, Steel Stebbins, Chris Hemsworth, Leslie Mann, Chevy Chase, and Bevery D’Angelo. Could this continuation of the Griswold family be worth making the trip or should you have just stayed off the holiday road?
Vacation follows the now grown Rusty Griswold who decides to take his own family on a road trip to “Walley World” in order to spice things up with his wife and reconnect with his sons. Going into this you have to set aside the thought that this film is trying to be the original because it isn’t. It even has an entire dialogue sequence allowing the characters to tell the audience that it is not the intent. Writer/directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein clearly love the original and made sure to inject plenty of homage moments while making them their own and allowing the film to do its own thing. People have already been talking about how raunchy this film is in comparison and while it is on some level it really isn’t going that much over the top, it’s just in a different way. When the film is funny it is really funny, but like most comedies there are some moments that fall flat. One highlight of the film is the relationship between the two brothers that features and ongoing gag of the younger brother picking on the older and it never gets old. Helms steps in as the latest Rusty and brings his own style to the role while often channeling Chase on some level. In every film they have always had a different Rusty and Audrey and they even make sure to showcase that fact in a funny simple moment of the film.
Helms hilarious antics are only outmatched at times, by that of Applegate’s voice of reason who still manages to get into her own situations. She juggles both roles perfectly as both serious and comedy relief when need be. The real show stealer is Chris Hemsworth who is only in the film for a brief amount of time, but is so over the top ridiculous you can’t help but love him. There are so many over the top ridiculous moments throughout their trip it is hard to break them down, but as mentioned those that work, which is most of them, they are hilarious, but there are others that are more more cringe worthy and miss the mark. This is one R rated film that takes full advantage to earn that rating and it is a better comedy for it.
This is the type of film that has numerous elements that will make it affect people differently. If you are into the raunchy comedy, enjoy the cast and this series of films and can allow yourself to understand that they are not trying to remake the original, but instead carry on the tradition then you will have a lot of fun. Of course comedy is subjective like most things and everyone finds different things funny so decide for yourself. While there is no after credit Easter Egg there are some funny post cards to enjoy as well as a great cameo that will knock you dead.
In addition to the film this release includes some fun special features including a gag reel, deleted scenes, and featurettes Return to Walley World and The Griswold Odyssey taking fans further into the world of the Griswolds. Hit the road with this new set of Griswolds when Vacation hits Blu-ray and DVD on November 3rd and on Digital HD now. To add erven more fun to the series fans will be able to get their hands on a remasted National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation on December 1st from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment.