The strong points here are the same as the earlier Vacation movies. The Griswold family dynamic still works, especially in the closed confines of their own crazy home. The semi-annoying kids are still there, hot mom Beverly D’Angelo is still smokin’ and of there’s course Chevy Chase. Nobody did physical gags or quick one liners like Chase did in his heyday and he’s at his best here. CHRISTMAS VACATION is endlessly quotable (especially around the dinner table!), thanks to Chase and a script by none other than John Hughes. I also have to give credit to first time director Jeremiah Chechik, who pulls everything together nicely. Fast paced and tightly wound, once the movie gets going it really gets going, with something of a mean streak but also a sweetness that’s appropriate to the holiday.
I mean seriously, what’s not to love here?
- “Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, kiss my ass. Kiss his ass. Kiss your ass. Happy Hanukkah.”
- Clark’s loquacious tirade against his boss
- Randy Quaid as Cousin Eddie: “Shitter’s full!”
- The dinner table scene
- Aunt Bethany and Uncle Lewis.
- The cat.
- Julia Louis-Dreyfus getting tortured.
- Requisite eye candy Mary.
Commentary by Randy Quaid, Beverly D’Angelo, Johnny Galecki, Miriam Flynn, director Jeremiah Chechik, and producer Matty Simmons: The obvious odd man out here is Chevy Chase and while it’s nice to hear everyone else (especially Quaid, who’s funny on his own) it just doesn’t feel right without him. It’s fun to hear everyone reminisce, but none of the stories really wowed me enough to suggest you watch it. A lot of awkward silence too.
Extra Tidbit: Mae Questel (Aunt Bethany) was the voice of Betty Boop and Olive Oyl.