Director: John Francis Daley, Jonathan M. Goldstein
Cast: Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Skyler Gisondo, Steele Stebbins, Chris Hemsworth, Leslie Mann, Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Charlie Day, Catherine Missal, Ron Livingston, Keegan-Michael Key
Age Rating: 15/R
Running Time: 99 Minutes
The reviews have been slacking lately, so I thought I’d take an upbeat, crazy comedy to get me back in the swing of things. Let’s just say it was an interesting comeback!
VACATION is one of the many sequels/reboots to come out in 2015, telling the story of middle-aged Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms) taking his family on a break they’ll most certainly never forget, back to “Walley World” where he used to spend his childhood vacations! Determined to spice up his and his wife’s stale and routine life and get his sons to bond, the Griswolds come up against some hysterical and down-right disgusting situations that had us laughing but mostly cringing throughout.
The film features some good cameo appearances from the likes of Leslie Mann, Charlie Day, and most notably THOR’s Chris Hemsworth who plays a cattle hearding, cowboy pin-up who continuously pushes the boundaries with the Griswolds’ personal space, providing us with some of the funniest moments of the film.
As an uneducated viewer, having not seen the original Chevy Chase VACATION films, I can simply judge this film as a stand-alone film, however it was very clear where they were making connections with the previous films, and these references had the likes of me laughing as well.
As a stand-alone film, VACATION has its moments. The relationship between the two sons James (Skyler Gisondo) and Kevin (Steele Stebbins) is very funny and not annoying, which a lot of comedies struggle to deliver these days. There are some outrageous scenes which literally have you crying with laughter or shielding your eyes, particularly the “hot springs” scene which I will never unfortunately forget! However, I wouldn’t say it was the greatest of performances from Christina Applegate, and as far as road trip films go, I wouldn’t say it is anywhere near on par with WE’RE THE MILLERS which was a brilliant comedy.
Overall, for many, VACATION is probably a very nostalgic adventure, with just enough laughter to keep you engaged throughout. For me, it was good but not great. I was not entertained throughout, and I spent a lot of time cringing rather than laughing, but I definitely sense a couple of sequels coming from this year’s film, and I will most likely end up watching those as well.
“What could go wrong?”
Recommendation: Grateful that I didn’t spend money on it at the cinema, but definitely worth a watch if you’re a fan of the originials, and definitely worth a Netflix/Amazon watch or rent in general for comedy value.