Vacation (2015)

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Remo D
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Vacation (2015)

Post by Remo D » Tue Aug 04, 2015 4:00 pm

Really? Why did I go see this?

A: I wasn't interested in MISSION IMPOSSIBLE and wouldn't go see ANT-MAN or PIXELS without my family.
B: I heard so much hate about this movie before it even opened, so I was curious to see if it was worse than THE VATICAN TAPES.
C: I saw all four previous VACATION movies on the big screen and simply upheld tradition.
D: The Osio closed, so it wasn't as if I had indy/arthouse choices at my disposal.

Answer: All of the above, but especially C.

No more excuses. I've heard every reason why it's not cool to like Chevy Chase, but from SNL through FOUL PLAY through FLETCH and yes, through four VACATION movies (even the belated VEGAS VACATION, which went out without the "National Lampoon" name, as did this new film), the guy has always managed to make me laugh (or at least smile broadly). So with all that under my belt, I wanted to see what they were doing with the formula today.

The new VACATION follows the pattern of the original but is still more sequel than remake. Rusty (Ed Helms) is grown up now, and he wants to spark things up for the family with a trip to... oh, you know the drill.

There's plenty to like and plenty not to like in this movie--how much you enjoy it will depend on how much you liked the earlier ones. For me?

Positives: Helms is very funny and Christina Applegate is fine as his long-suffering wife Debbie. There are plenty of hilarious (and original) gags involving a monstrous Albanian rental car, its dual gas tanks and its cryptic keyring. There's "squirm in embarrassment" humor as Rusty tries to be a supportive father, there's no shortage of laugh-out-loud individual moments (again, NOT copied from previous entries), especially one involving the Four Corners monument (hmmm... speaking of THE VATICAN TAPES, Father Michael Pena must have fled the order and become a cop in New Mexico), and there's "hate yourself for laughing" gross-outs to spare. Oh, and there's a great running gag involving a sinister trucker straight out of DUEL which ends up with a well-worth-it surprise cameo.

Not quite sure: Instead of a Randy Quaid surrogate, we get Chris Hemsworth as Stone, husband to the grown Audrey (Leslie Mann). More than once, the movie makes the point that Rusty's family and Stone have major political differences, but aside from a throwaway gag invoking Charlton Heston, nothing is ever actually MADE of this (the blowout we anticipate never actually happens), though the game and "randy" Hemsworth takes advantage of a quiet moment to show off his... er... six-pack in one of the funnier scenes.

Negatives: The two sons are even more unlikable and grating than the JURASSIC WORLD kids. And the film nearly screeches to a halt when we finally catch up with Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo. Not only do we have the semi-obligatory "serious" business to deal with, but we have Chase himself to behold as the aging Clark, and the sight is both frightening and depressing ("Please let that be special makeup" won't do the trick). And the new Walley World climax (yes, they actually get IN legitimately this time) just can't live up to the original.

If you're a VACATION fan of any stripe, this certainly isn't a terrible film, and it certainly had enough laughs to justify my matinee ticket. You'll lose nothing by waiting for cable, however. What's more to say?


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