Vacation

Starring: Ed Helms, Christina Appelgate, Skyler Gisondo, Steele Stebbins, Chris Hemsworth, Leslie Mann, Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Charlie Day, Ron Livingston, Norman Reedus, Keegan Michael-Key, Regina Hall
Directed By: John Francis Daley and Jonathan M Goldstein

Did they at least attempt to bring Juliette Lewis back? I couldn’t help but remember that Juliette Lewis was in the franchise, especially considering we saw a picture of her during a trip down memory lane. I don’t think Juliette Lewis could have turned into Leslie Mann. And poor Johnny Galecki too. And Anthony Michael Hall. And Ethan Embry. I suppose it’s kind of a tradition for a new actor to play Rusty everytime, but… still.

I think my greatest problem with Vacation, and reviewing Vacation, is that it is very much one of those films where most of the good parts are in the trailer. That being said, I loved the trailer. I had just seen it so many times that by the time we got to the movie, I no longer felt like laughing at the same jokes. There were a few more jokes thrown in that landed that were not in the trailer, but most of them… are in the trailer. Lets be honest.

Another thing was they basically castrated Kevin (Stebbins), who plays the mouthy younger brother, halfway through the film. He was one of the bright spots, and the rest of the movie is him acting nice and no longer bullying his brother. It was an odd choice to remove one of the strongest aspects of the movie from play. We have a lot of groan moments, and eye rolling moments, and look away moments, but we can’t have a foul-mouthed preteen for the whole movie?

Vacation is definitely uneven. 100%. It’s like putting a bunch of jokes on the wall and throwing darts at them. Not every joke gets a dart through it. Not every joke in Vacation worked, and for various reasons. For me, I live in Orlando, and around theme parks. So, the films final climax where the ride operator closes down the ride and walks away is just idiotic. I mean, I know that’s needed for the conflict in the scene… but no one would do that. Also, there’s no security around? Really? Just like no truck driver would follow people across country, and try to run the off the road, for the reasons that truck driver had. I can suspend disbelief, but you’re asking a lot just for a little joke.

Vacation is full of a lot of things that just don’t work. Yes, I laughed. Hard. A couple of times. But in between the jokes its just awkward. It’s weird watching everyone trying to be funny, and just failing. It’s hard to watch Ed Helms fully commit to a joke that just doesn’t work. The four corners scenario was never funny, and it went on way too long. Rusty was right. The new Vacation will stand on its own. But as what? What exactly are you trying to stand as? I feel like this film was born conceptually by two drunk studio execs who wrote “Vacation + The Hangover” on a napkin, but never thought what that would actually entail. It’s a pretty insane ride, and it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

The Good? I love Christina Appelgate, so any chance to use her is welcome. Steele Stebbins was hilarious as Kevin. I’d watch a sitcom with Kevin Griswold any day. Chris Hemsworth was interesting, I suppose. I think they thought we’d all be talking about his Vacation role, and that would get everyone in the door, but I’d like to think we’ve gotten past dick jokes, and we know that dick jokes don’t make the movie.

It should have been so much better. This won’t reboot the Vacation franchise. There won’t be a sequel.

FINAL GRADE: C+
(After further thought, I edited this down to a C+ from a B-).

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