Starring; Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Chris Hemsworth
Director: John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein
Running Time: 99 mins
Vacation is an American film and the sequel to National Lampoon’s Vacation. Thirty years after his dad took him on a cross-country road trip, Rusty Griswold decides to take his own family to Walley World, on a trip with similar results as the attempt in the 80s.
This film was destroyed by the critics when it came out last summer, but I can’t really see why. Sure, this is a bit of a shameless rip-off of the original Vacation, and it’s by no means the funniest or smartest comedy in the world, but it always goes about its business with joy, providing a whole host of good laughs from start to finish, even if we’ve seen the story before.
Of course, the original Vacation is great, but the one thing that I thought this film did really well was capture the same essence. It’s a light-hearted and mad tale of a dysfunctional family running into the worst problems imaginable (often coming off like a Simpson episode more than anything), and it simply lets loose and allows you to enjoy all the crazy hijinks unfold.
I expected this film to be annoying, dumb and totally reliant on slapstick humour. Whilst a large proportion of the comedy is slapstick, I’m glad to say that it was handled really well. Generally, this isn’t a particularly juvenile film, and what really shines through is the directors’ brilliant techniques to create good comedy.
There’s one absolutely perfect scene where the family go on a bizarre white-water rafting course, along with a good few other big gags that directors Daley and Goldstein pull off really well, giving the fantastic sense of uncontrollable and depressing madness that the original movie had, along with a gleeful and light-hearted take on the story.
There’s no doubt that a lot of the jokes don’t quite land, but the biggest comedic set-pieces are generally all strong hits. Thanks to the directors, as well as some great performances from the likes of Ed Helms and Christina Applegate, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this film.
But be sure, in order to really enjoy this movie, to tolerate how close it follows the original story of Vacation. By setting around Rusty’s own family, it attempts to make an excuse for towing such a similar line, but that’s not really good enough, and it would have been nice to see something a little different, to add to the entertainment and unpredictability of it all.
Despite that, I had a really good time with Vacation. It’s not just not bad, but actually a very enjoyable and light-hearted road trip comedy. With good performances, directing and writing, there’s no reason to not have a smile on your face by the end of this movie, and that’s why it gets a 7.3 from me.