Saturday, August 1, 2015

Vacation (2015) – review

Normally comedic movies get a pass from a lot of my criticism since comedy, as a genre itself, is incredibly subjective. Vacation, considers itself to be apart of a beloved franchise and wants to appear to stand-alone. It fails on both counts. The characters are grating and unlikable and the writing is stale and lifeless.

Grown up Rusty Griswold, played by Ed Helms, decides for a change of pace to take the family on a road trip from Chicago to California to visit Walley World just like his family did when he was a kid. His wife, Debbie, played by Christina Applegate, is unhappy and his sons are two horrible saps. The younger is a foul-mouthed bully while the older is a whiny intellectual who is always mocked. The boys are constantly fighting so he hopes that this trip will bring them all closer as a family.

I struggle to find anything good to say about this movie. It is devoid of originality and the characters feel like charm sponges, draining the scene of any interest or fun that could be had and leaving a husk remaining.  The movie actually tells the audience in an off-hand way that this movie is different from the original Vacation movie and that this one will stand on its own. That would be clever, if it wasn’t an outright lie.

Instead we are given scenes that are taken from the original but are wildly less funny since Ed Helms is not a leading man and his family is comprised of people you don’t want to see on screen. Scenes like:
-The Father showing everyone the crappy car’s features
- The redneck stealing from the family
- The car having an altercation with a semi-truck
-The dad’s angry blow out at the family
-The psychotic meltdown
-The car breakdown in the dessert
-The cute girl next to the car in a red Ferrari
-The misunderstanding at the pool
-The parents trying to make love but being interrupted
-Running at Wally World to the theme from Chariots of Fire
Between this unoriginal garbage is a heaping helping of poop and vomit jokes that would make any middle school student pleased.

Even when characters from the original like Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo show up it is only a grim reminder that we are watching something that doesn’t want to try very hard.  Maybe this would have worked better had it not had a beloved franchise attached to it. This movie depressed me because I enjoy the original John Hughes characters so much and to see them turned into such losers is really sad.

Vacation is not worth seeing. Watch the original movie. Hell, watch all of the original movies and they are wildly better than this. If it has Cousin Eddie in it, that is an even safer bet. This movie felt like a series of SNL throwaway skits. The jokes are obvious and juvenile. It will leave you angry and disappointed and generally you expect more out of your comedic movies.

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