This 'Vacation' is funny but not a fun movie experience


“Vacation” (2015) – “This is crazy. This is crazy. This is crazy.”

Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) uttered these words just before skinny-dipping in a motel pool with a gorgeous blonde - who was not his wife – in the original and completely hilarious “Vacation” (1983).

“This is crazy” also plays into the entire trip itself.

Clark drives his family on a cross-country trip from Chicago to Los Angeles to the nationwide amusement destination, Walley World, and a series of misadventures – including a death in the family – ensues.

Any parent - who took a similar journey with their children - can certainly relate to the Griswolds’ brutally long car ride filled with smelly socks, wrong turns and family arguments while also bursting out with laughter (and much gratitude they are not this particular family).

Thirty-two years later, Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms) is grown, works as a pilot - who regularly flies an 18-minute trip from South Bend, IN to Chicago – and wishes to take his wife (Christina Applegate) and his two boys on a much longer journey to familiar place, Walley World.

With an extremely odd, blue Albanian minivan - called a Prancer – (planning on) hauling them 2,560 miles to Walley World, this Griswold family finds their own collection of mishaps, which can more accurately be described as disasters.

Rusty suffered through a nightmare of a trip three decades prior, so what is he thinking?

This is crazy.

Well, for the audience, we are admittedly treated to very funny sequences.

Rusty, Debbie (Applegate) and their boys take an insane detour down river rapids, unwittingly bathe in a foul hot springs and stay at a most unsavory motel which makes the Bates Motel look as inviting as the Ritz-Carlton.

Not only are the predicaments humorous, but Helms, Applegate and the child actors, Skyler Gisondo and Steele Stebbins, pull on their internal comedic strings for some entertaining moments as well.

I definitely laughed, but the problem with the film is it does not feel like a cohesive journey at all.

The script upped the ante from the original film and offers plenty of over-the-top calamities, but this strategy backfires.

Rather than developing a real rooting interest in the family’s best interests, I found myself wanting to see what issue will stop the Griswolds in their tracks next, and hence, the storyline feels very forced and hollow.

The picture becomes a series of setups, and rather than watching characters, I was watching actors trudging through one vacation nightmare after another.

Family vacations are supposed to be fun.

This “Vacation” is admittedly funny, but far from fun.

Perhaps, I’d rather pay $10 for to watch an 18-minute flight from South Bend to Chicago.

Well, I suppose “that is crazy” as well. (2/4 stars)

Image Credits: Warner Bros. Pictures