Vacation Review

So I watched Vacation…

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It’s been so long since I watched a really funny comedy at the cinema (Trainwreck doesn’t count). I didn’t realise how long it had been till I bought my ticket for this movie and found myself hoping for at least a few laughs. Luckily, this movie provided me with more than just a ‘few’ laughs – I was practically rolling on the floor.

Okay, basic plot: Russ Griswold (Ed Helms) is looking for a way to connect with his family.He feels that his wife, two kids and he are stuck in a rut and Russ wants to inject some fun back into the family. So Russ decides to take his family on a road trip to Walley World – a trip that his father used to take his family on when Russ was a kid.

I was raised on National Lampoon’s Vacation so I was a bit apprehensive when I heard about this remake/sequel. The original Vacation film series is something of a classic in my mind so the idea of something fiddling with it was unsettling but I have to say this movie is a worthy addition to the series. Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley (who co-wrote and directed this movie) do an amazing modernizing the story while incorporating new elements to make it feel new and fresh. This movie is funny, in fact, it’s hilarious and this is largely due to the skillfully written script and direction of these two men.

But a good script is nothing without actors to bring it to life and Ed Helms does a sensational job. He’s literally at the helm of this movie’s comedy (get it, cause his name is Helms…okay, I’ll stop). Helms is the lifeblood of this movie – he’s in almost every scene and is the site from which most of the humour originates.He has this great charm and accessibility to his character so from the first second you see him, you wanna be on his side. He’s the perfect candidate to be an underdog because he’s interesting but not cool; fun but not too exciting and he has such great comedic timing that everything he says seems funny, even if it’s not. Helms really impressed me because I’ve only ever seen him in supporting roles so I didn’t know if he’d have the gumption to be able to be a lead; but I was pleasantly surprised with how good he was.

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That being said, the rest of the cast aren’t slouches in this movie. Christina Applegate, I think, had the hardest job to do in this movie because she’s playing the straight man so she doesn’t have many moments of zany humour; but rather serves as the calming influence that everybody bounces their craziness off and she plays this role to perfection. Skyler Gisondo and Steele Stebbins round up the main cast as the two children of the family and they’re as funny as Helms and Applegate. Stebbins, in particular, really had me going with his potty mouth and total disregard for how sibling relationships should go. There are also quite a few big name celebrity cameos with the likes of Charlie Day, Chevy Chase, Leslie Mann and Chris Hemsworth showing up throughout the story. Everybody does pretty well and is funny in their own way but Hemsworth disappoints a little. He’s meant to have this deep Southern accent but his native Australian pokes through at times and just ruins the idea of the character. I’m glad Chevy Chase returned to reprise his role as Clark Griswold from the original series. I was a huge fan of Chase when he was younger but I think he’s lost the bulk of his comedic ability with the passing of time. He’s still funny but not as he once was.

Overall this movie is hilarious; it stumbles in a few places but the majority of the jokes hit their target and will have you gasping for air. It’s very similar to last year’s We’re The Millers, actually, it’s almost identical: family of four travel cross country in a weird vehicle and both star Ed Helms. Wow, this movie is basically We’re The Millers but with a ton more slapstick comedy. Well it’s a sequel so it was never going to be original but it’s definitely worth a watch 7/10

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2 thoughts on “Vacation Review

  1. You’ve given me hope. This is the first positive review I have read of this movie. Every one of the others has pretty much called it the worst thing ever committed to film. That includes one I read five minutes before this one. I’m also a fan of the original so I have my fingers crossed for it.

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    1. I think comedies split audiences more than any other film genre. It’s just too subjective a genre. This comedy is the kind of film Adam Sandler would have made in his prime. It’s that slapstick, sometimes stupid, sometimes straight out the toilet humour but it’s really well done so I loved it.

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