Film review: Vacation (2015), directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein
tl;dr: The Griswolds do another cringeworthy but also fairly amusing roadtrip.
When Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms) overhears his wife Debbie (Christina Applegate) complaining that they always go to the same cabin for the holidays, he decides to shake things up a bit. Not by booking plane tickets to Paris, which is what Debbie had in mind, but by stepping in his father’s footsteps and taking the family on a road trip from Chicago all the way to the theme park Walley World in California. – See Vacation (1983).
“I’ve never even heard of the original vacation.”
“Doesn’t matter. The new vacation will stand on its own.”
Rusty hires a bizarre “Eastern European” car and off they go! His wife isn’t thrilled, and neither are the kids. James (Skyler Gisondo) is a poetry-writing teenager constantly bullied by his younger brother, the somewhat unhinged Kevin (Steele Stebbins).
As the miles fly past, they encounter a teenaged love interest for James (Catherine Missal), a dickish pilot (Ron Livingston), a suicidal white water rafting instructor (Charlie Day), a trucker (Norman Reedus), hot springs, Debbie’s old sorority house, and much else. They go visit Rusty’s sister Audrey (Leslie Mann) and her hotshot weatherman husband Stone (Chris Hemsworth) in Texas, and even the original Griswold parents (Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo) get to grace the screen.
It’s the same kind of cringeworthy, occasionally crude, comedy from the original film(s), but this time it’s with actors from the mid-2010s, and while I have seen the original Vacation, like the quote says, the new version stands on its own and while Randy is technically the son from the original films, you don’t need to know that to enjoy the film. Or not enjoy, as the case may be. I thought it was amusing enough, there were a few giggles, but it’s not a film to write home about.
The funniest part is probably when they’re at the ranch in Texas, because Chris Hemsworth is hilarious.
If you’ve ever been on a road trip with family, yours probably won’t have gone the same way of the Griswolds – or at least I hope they haven’t, and if they did, I’m terribly sorry.
As a film, Vacation is kind of okay, if you like that sort of thing.
3 out of 5 shoulder-rats.