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Review: Vacation

Vacation
07.29.2015
4 10
 

PLOT: Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms) follows in the footsteps of his father Clark (Chevy Chase) by taking his wife Debbie (Christina Applegate) and sons James (Skyler Gisondo) and Kevin (Steele Stebbins) on a disastrous cross-country trip to Wally World.

REVIEW: As is par for the course in our reboot-heavy pop culture, everything old is new again and that now extends to the surprisingly durable NATIONAL LAMPOON’S VACATION series. With CHRISTMAS VACATION still on in heavy rotation every Christmas, it’s amazing that a Griswold family follow-up hasn’t happened sooner, and to give directors/screenwriters John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein credit, they didn’t opt for a remake or family-friendly follow-up in keeping with the later installments. Rather, they’ve given the original R-rated VACATION a full-fledged sequel complete with even raunchier jokes than the surprisingly racy original, which must be one of the most hilariously inappropriate family classics of all-time.

 

All that said, it’s too bad this new VACATION isn’t a better movie as, excepting a few inspired throwaway gags, this is yet another comedy that thinks outrageousness on its own is inherently funny. While the original was pretty filthy, it also had heart. You cared about the Griswolds and sympathized with harried family man Clark’s desire to spend quality time with his family. Here, VACATION trades heart for a strange sense of mean-spiritedness. This is far more in line with the recent hit WE’RE THE MILLERS than any of the original films, with Helms’ family man Rusty essentially Andy from The Office. You never sympathize with him, and he seems borderline insane right from the opening scene where he almost crashes a jet airliner.

His kids fare even worse, with Skyler Gisondo’s geeky older brother being the constant target for cruel jokes we’re supposed to laugh at, while the younger brother is portrayed as a budding psychopath –whose antics are supposed to be hilarious but never are. The only one who fares well is the always solid Christina Applegate as Rusty’s wife Debbie. She’s the only one that seems vaguely human, and she also gets the movie’s biggest laugh when the family makes a detour to her alma-matter and her sorority-girl past as Debbie “Do-Anything” gets revealed (she once slept with Anthony Hopkins).

 

Otherwise, the jokes are just too big or violent to be funny. For instance, the classic Christie Brinkley cameo is given a nod, with the payoff being that the girl in question now dies in a violent auto-wreck treated as an outrageous gag. In fact, several characters (and most memorably a cow) meet a violent end, which seems downright bizarre for a comedy.

Frustratingly, there are a few moments where VACATION really works. Daley and Goldstein get the movie off to a great start with the opening title sequence using Lindsay Buckingham’s ‘Holiday Road’ over a montage of funny family vacation photos, which seems to suggest a much more relatable comedy than the one we actually get. Some of the smaller parts are good, including Leslie Mann as Rusty’s sister Audrey and Chris Hemsworth as her Republican weatherman hubby. Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo also make welcome cameos, although D’Angelo is so underused I don’t even remember her having a single line of dialogue.

While there are a handful of good laughs, VACATION can’t hold a candle to the original film and emerges as a surprisingly tone-deaf and mean-spirited comedy. R-rated comedies are great, but without heart or at least a sense of absurdity or anarchy they can fall flat. That certainly applies to this new VACATION, although it remains to be seen if this will be a deal breaker to modern audiences, who’ve turned worse comedies than this into box-office moneymakers.

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Source: JoBlo.com

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+1
5:46AM on 07/30/2015

HATE...

And I mean HATE, like truly LOATHE Ed Helms. Hard pass.
And I mean HATE, like truly LOATHE Ed Helms. Hard pass.
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6:12PM on 07/29/2015

WE'RE THE MILLERS 2: THE CHEAPER VERSION

Havent seen it so can't comment but it is what it is.
Havent seen it so can't comment but it is what it is.
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12:25PM on 07/29/2015

It goes too far and isn't a family vacation, it's just assholes being assholes

Th charm of Vacation always came from Chevy Chase and his family looking and sounding like a real family. There was no need for over the top gross out humor, there was no need for one character to try and be shocking with every word that comes out of his mouth. Vacation and Christmas Vacation worked because they lampooned the idea of being a family. This movie just goes too far and doesn't earn the laughs, it just forces weird situations and keeps asking you if you are laughing yet. I wasn't.
Th charm of Vacation always came from Chevy Chase and his family looking and sounding like a real family. There was no need for over the top gross out humor, there was no need for one character to try and be shocking with every word that comes out of his mouth. Vacation and Christmas Vacation worked because they lampooned the idea of being a family. This movie just goes too far and doesn't earn the laughs, it just forces weird situations and keeps asking you if you are laughing yet. I wasn't.
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12:22PM on 07/29/2015

Most critics weren't looking forward to this VACATION

And, at 28% on Rotten Tomatoes (so far), it doesn't look like it's getting a lot of love.
And, at 28% on Rotten Tomatoes (so far), it doesn't look like it's getting a lot of love.
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10:14AM on 07/29/2015
It's written and directed by two untalented hacks plus it starts the insufferable Ed Helms. It was bound to be terrible especially when the highlight of the trailer is your characters swimming in human waste.
It's written and directed by two untalented hacks plus it starts the insufferable Ed Helms. It was bound to be terrible especially when the highlight of the trailer is your characters swimming in human waste.
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9:45AM on 07/29/2015

Vacation was great...

I was skeptical when I first heard this news, but I went to see this last night, and honestly it was hilarious. Granted, it didn't have as much "heart" as the original did because, let's face it Chevy Chase was the King of the 80's and his Clark Griswald was just so effortlessly likeable. Ed Helms' Rusty was great though in the role. You were rooting for him throughout the movie. I thought all of the characters were great, definitely the youngest brother. They did overdo it a bit with the older
I was skeptical when I first heard this news, but I went to see this last night, and honestly it was hilarious. Granted, it didn't have as much "heart" as the original did because, let's face it Chevy Chase was the King of the 80's and his Clark Griswald was just so effortlessly likeable. Ed Helms' Rusty was great though in the role. You were rooting for him throughout the movie. I thought all of the characters were great, definitely the youngest brother. They did overdo it a bit with the older brother, with how nerdy he was. It didn't seem realistic, he was the perfect storm of douchey and nerdy. Ha. Yes, the movie was more raunchy. Yes, it isn't wrapped with the same "heart" as the originals. But this isn't a remake. The torch has been passed on. It really is a standalone movie that starts a new franchise potentially. I would definitely continue watching the antics of this family. The raunchy humor serves the film well. I completely disagree with this review. People should definitely check this out. If you don't, you will be missing a great rated-R comedy. These don't come around too often.
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9:44AM on 07/29/2015
If I go by the trailer, the mean spirited sense of humour should appeal to me. This may be the first comedy I see on the big screen since Blue Streak (which I walked out on).
If I go by the trailer, the mean spirited sense of humour should appeal to me. This may be the first comedy I see on the big screen since Blue Streak (which I walked out on).
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8:42AM on 07/29/2015
I don't have much hope for this new Vacation movie anyway.
I don't have much hope for this new Vacation movie anyway.
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2:25AM on 07/29/2015

yeah but the Christie Brinkley cameo was ruined in the trailer...

"For instance, the classic Christie Brinkley cameo is given a nod, with the payoff being that the girl in question now dies in a violent auto-wreck treated as an outrageous gag. "
i wasn't expecting much, honestly. even Vegas Vacation was blah, and Hangover III was mehh.... hollywood has kind of given us drecch for a while now with so many unfunny or stupid comedies, maybe we were just accepting it would be violent death gags without any real substance.... too bad.
Gone are the days of
"For instance, the classic Christie Brinkley cameo is given a nod, with the payoff being that the girl in question now dies in a violent auto-wreck treated as an outrageous gag. "
i wasn't expecting much, honestly. even Vegas Vacation was blah, and Hangover III was mehh.... hollywood has kind of given us drecch for a while now with so many unfunny or stupid comedies, maybe we were just accepting it would be violent death gags without any real substance.... too bad.
Gone are the days of Airplane! and HOT SHOTS and Naked Gun trilogy..... I mean those WERE funny and goofy, the current crop try but Hollywoods views on what is funny has changed to dry horrible crap like A Haunted House 1, and 2 and all those horrible "spoof" movies that rip off scene for scene with some dumb twist and not much dialog... blah.
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1:47AM on 07/29/2015
Didn't really plan on seeing this anyway, but the trailers made me chuckle, I'll just wait to rent it. May have a 2 day head start against Rogue Nation, but it will get smoked over the weekend, especially with it getting rave reviews.
Didn't really plan on seeing this anyway, but the trailers made me chuckle, I'll just wait to rent it. May have a 2 day head start against Rogue Nation, but it will get smoked over the weekend, especially with it getting rave reviews.
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12:53AM on 07/29/2015
Looks decent enough to spend some time on. But the film's humor reminds me of a blend of We're the Millers, and the Horrible Bosses films.

But it'll be awhile before I see this considering I haven't seen Southpaw yet and with Rogue Nation opening up the same weekend.
Looks decent enough to spend some time on. But the film's humor reminds me of a blend of We're the Millers, and the Horrible Bosses films.

But it'll be awhile before I see this considering I haven't seen Southpaw yet and with Rogue Nation opening up the same weekend.
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12:39AM on 07/29/2015

Oh boy...

Can I really trust the opinion of someone who doesn't think the original "Vacation" is a good movie? Something tells me the answer is "Hell no."
Can I really trust the opinion of someone who doesn't think the original "Vacation" is a good movie? Something tells me the answer is "Hell no."
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7:42PM on 07/31/2015
Where did it say the reviewer didn't think the original was a good movie? Can't find that statement in the review.
Where did it say the reviewer didn't think the original was a good movie? Can't find that statement in the review.
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