It has been 32 years since Chevy Chase took his family the Griswold’s on a road trip to Walley World with a beautiful and hilarious script by the great John Hughes, and after several sequels and a spinoff TV show, it is time for the classic reboot to usher in a new generation to National Lampoon’s style comedy. Vacation delivers a fresh new cast, enlisting some of comedy’s biggest names to make one of the funniest films of 2015.
The premise is simple enough; Rusty (Ed Helms) is a pilot for Econo-Air – a budget airline – who is sick of having his family complain about their annual holiday to their cabin in the woods. Rusty decides to take his wife, Debbie (Christina Applegate) and sons James (Styler Gisondo) and Kevin (Steele Stebbins) on a cross country road trip to Walley World, to relive his childhood memories (yes Rusty is meant to be the grown up version of the boy in the original Vacation movie!) and bring his family closer together.
Along the way they run into car trouble, truck drivers chasing and trying to run them off the road, a beer-jug-chugging sorority, and an anything and everything go wrong plot device that keeps you guessing as to what misfortune will befall the family next as the movie travels along. Helping the family out along the way is Rusty’s sister Audrey (Leslie Mann) & her husband Stone (Chris Hemsworth) who have a hilarious extended cameo, while Regina Hall and Key Peele play the part of the perfect and hilarious couple.
I will acknowledge that critics have savaged this movie, as they have seemed want to do a lot this year, but I found this to be gross-out comedy at its best. Applegate shines as the bored housewife, itching for a bit of adventure, Stebbins and Gisondo play well off the role-reversal and Helms is a stand-out lead as the bumbling and loving father who just wants his family to be close.
It was this point that really stood out for me; through all the poop and puke jokes, the endearing message of a father giving up career advancement to be close to his family was touching, it was beautiful, it was simple and it was the point that reconnected this couple (and a Yankee candle!) that balanced the crazy road trip antics.
Chevy Chase and Beverley D’Angelo do guest star as Rusty’s parents but they aren’t given any material to do anything much with, it simply feels like a ‘we had to do it so we did’ thing, and thankfully it is short and sweet.
Overall this film is hard to compare to the original, they are both living in two different time periods, this one definitely has the We’re The Millers vibe to it and this helps usher in a new generation of Griswold family fans that will hopefully see the franchise continue. Fans of the original may grumble at the changes, and to them I say this is merely an adaption rather than a remake, it is hard to completely remake a classic film, this serves as a reinvention for today’s audience and it serves it well.
Vacation is in cinemas now .
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