Vacation (2015) – Movie Review
Vacation – R
Release Date: Fri 24 Jul 2015
Ed Helms plays the adult version of Rusty, the Griswold’s son in the original Chevy Chase film National Lampoon’s Vacation. He takes his wife (Christina Applegate) and his sons on a cross country trip to visit Walley World in a plot that sounds exactly like the original. Surprisingly, Vacation does not feel like a retread or just a desperate attempt at nostalgia for the earlier films. It breaks the fourth wall early to make fun of it’s similarity but then manages to be an enjoyably outrageous comedy throughout.
Helms and Applegate are hilarious and the roadside disasters and cameos along the way are mostly fun. Leslie Mann makes a cameo as Rusty’s sister Audrey alongside her husband Stone (Chris Hemsworth.) Strangely the weakest cameo sequence is the one with Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo that feels as though it was either a re-shoot or an afterthought.
One of the highest compliments I can pay the movie is that there’s no penalty for people who have not seen the original movies. While there are some references to them, the movie explains just enough to keep newcomers up to speed. Unlike Chase in the original who was the focus and got the majority of the laughs, Helms often plays straight man to great effect. The reverse dynamic of the sons (where the younger one viciously bullies the older one) is also very funny.
Sure there’s a lot of sex and gross-out humor, but it stands right alongside the best modern R-rated comedies and is well worth watching.
Hannah, Aaron, Amber, Chris and I saw it in the theater and had a discussion in the car: