In 1983, when National Lampoon’s Vacation was released I wasn’t a movie critic and didn’t see it. I’ve seen parts but never the whole movie. The same goes for its sequels.
What I have seen wasn’t that impressive or that funny.
Now we have a new version that is a sequel of sorts. Clark Griswold’s boy Rusty is grown and is as clueless and square as his dad. In 2015, he’s played by The Office’s Ed Helms. Driven to do something fun for his family, Rusty — like dad — decides to drive them all to Wally World.
They get there, one mildly funny disaster after another, just like Chase, Beverly D’Angelo and their child actors got there in the original.
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The always wonderful Christina Applegate is Rusty’s downright delightful wife Debbie. She gives Vacation its only sign of life. Supportive and stable, Applegate gets to be the anchor that Helms’ humor revolves around.
If only he was funny. If only his movie was funny.
Helms pastes a cheesy grin on his face and spends most of this vacation bouncing from crisis to crisis like Howdy Doody on a string. To give Helms a little credit, he’s not totally responsible for all of this movie’s mess. John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein ( Horrible Bosses) wrote the script. They also direct. There are — like the original series — places where you’ll laugh out loud. You’re also given plenty of “ew” moments and way too many completely stupid moments.
It’s the combination of “ew” and the far too many idiotic plot twists that — ultimately — make one want to vacate this Vacation.