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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Vacation Hell

The 1983 road-trip comedy ‘National Lampoon’s Vacation,’ about the Griswold family’s arduous journey to a fictional Disneyland-style amusement park called “Walley World,” is a critically acclaimed comedy classic which spawned four sequels.  The concept of a fun and relaxing family vacation that turns into hell can be uproariously funny if done right, and now we get the sixth installment with the simply titled ‘Vacation,’ which takes the franchise to the next generation and tells the tale of the son’s attempts to avoid the pitfalls that befell his dad over 30 years ago on a trip to Walley World.
 
Rusty Griswold, the son of Chevy Chase’s Clark Griswold played by Anthony Michael Hall in the 1983 original, is now Ed Helms (‘The Office,' ‘The Hangover’) as he takes his own dysfunctional family cross-country in a malfunctioning Korean-speaking blue Tartan Prancer dubbed the “Honda of Albania.”  Throughout the memorable road trip, numerous embarrassing mishaps ensue, including the unexpected discovery that his loving and unassuming wife (Christina Applegate from ‘Married with Children’) was a wild and loose party girl when she was in a sorority in college.  Like the current crop of R-rated comedies, ‘Vacation 2015’ ups the ante in gross-out moments, such as a "soothing" hot springs dip the family took in sewage infested waters.  The movie also made reference to the original, not only in the destination of the trip being the same and keeping its catchy theme song but also with its own twisted version of the iconic scene where Christie Brinkley pulled up next to the Griswolds’ dumpy panel-sided station-wagon in a lipstick red Ferrari and flirted with Chevy Chase.  Well, up until the hot blonde was stopped dead in her tracks by a speeding semi anyway.  Ouch.
 
‘Vacation 2015’ isn’t as good as the original of course, but it was never intended to be.  What it managed to become is a pretty funny movie in its own right that stands apart from its forebear and caters to the less refined tastes of today’s jaded audience.   If you don’t care for this type of R-rated not-for-kids humor, may I suggest that you save yourself a few bucks and revisit the original  movie instead.  Trust me, it still stands the test of time.

Grade: B

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