Vacation (2015)

Review by CJ


John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein

Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Skyler Gisondo, Steele Stebbins

Other notable appearances:
Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Chris Hemsworth, a prosthetic penis in Chris Hemsworth’s underwear, Leslie Mann, Ron Livingston, Keegan-Michael Key, Regina Hall, Michael Peña, Charlie Day, Norman Reedus, Seal

Running time:
99 minutes

Watch this if you liked:
We’re the Millers, The Hangover, Horrible Bosses


When Rusty Griswold (Helms) discovers his wife (Applegate) and sons (Gisondo and Stebbins) are sick of their usual vacation to a cabin in the woods, he decides to recreate a trip from his childhood. The Griswolds are going to Walley World! … Again!

I haven’t seen any of the previous National Lampoon films in their entirety. To be honest, I have seen enough to know that I don’t really want to see the whole films. So I didn’t go into Vacation expecting to be entertained. It turns out that I was very wrong and my low expectations were quickly surpassed.

Vacation combines adult humour with a lot of heart to create a film that is by no means suitable for the whole family. The plot is simple enough — the Griswold family are being dragged on a vacation by the patriarch and things go terribly wrong along the way. I find the best comedies are the ones that have purpose but don’t try to convolute the plot. In this regard, Vacation has succeeded.

I don’t laugh out loud at comedy films very often. Even ones that I enjoy I often know the jokes are funny and am entertained without even a snicker. There managed to be several moments throughout Vacation that made me chuckle and a couple that elicited a guffaw.

In amongst the sexual and faecal humour are gorgeous sweeping shots of the United States. The film features some stunning locations and it’s nice that it manages to showcase them between poop and dick jokes.

Ed Helms is hilarious in his role as Rusty Griswold. Christina Applegate manages to play Debbie Griswold as both a likeable straight woman to Helms’ wacky Rusty and a very funny character in her own right. As far as supporting cast went, the stand outs to me were Chris Hemsworth as the southern Stone Crandall and Norman Reedus as the trucker. Both managed to be very funny with the little screen time they had. As a fan of The Walking Dead I found Reedus’s portrayal of the trucker particularly amusing.

The only thing I found to be unlikeable in the film was the relationship between the two sons. I never found the boys’ relationship to be particularly funny and, in fact, found the youngest son’s jibes to be particularly stupid and unfunny.

Overall, Vacation is a funny film. If you’re looking for high brow or socially acceptable humour, this isn’t the place to come. However, if you want a few laughs at some silly and inappropriate moments then jump on board the Prancer and buckle up!

4 Stars

“Are there helmets?”
“Yeah, I keep them with the tampons.”

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