As the summer keeps pushing along, and the big summer movies are coming to a close, one could start to wonder, “Where is our unnecessary remake to an 80’s classic?” Well, not to fear, because here it is. This year’s unneeded remake/reboot/sequel would be Vacation. The continuation of the Griswold’s turbulent family vacation drama, where anything and everything that can go wrong, does. The franchise started in 1983 when Clark (Chevy Chase) attempted to take his family on a cross-country trip to Wally World. This led us to four outrageous comedies showing us that family trips are never what we imagine.
Now, 32 years later, Clark’s son, Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms) is following in his father’s footsteps. Hoping for some much needed family bonding, Rusty surprises his wife, Debbie (Christina Applegate) and their two sons, James (Skyler Gisondo) and Kevin (Steele Stebbins), with the same cross country trip to Wally World that he took as a kid. Shocker, nothing goes as planned and everything that can go wrong, does; leading us to watch the new, but same, Vacation movie for a new generation.
If you think Ed Helms is funny then you’re in for a treat. Being the main character, you spend a lot of time watching him do the same thing he does in every movie. I, personally, don’t think he’s funny at all and had a hard time watching him in the movie as he just tries so hard to keep up with the actual funny people in each scene. Christina Applegate is who steals the show. Her being an actual comedic actress, she doesn’t need to try as hard. Comedy just comes so effortlessly to her that she makes Helms look out of place in every scene. As do the two kids, played wonderfully by Skyler Gisondo and Steele Stebbins. Just like in the original, the kids have their own side story that takes place during most of the adults main storyline. These young actors are great. Each has comic timing that would take less talented actors years to understand, but they both got it already. Each has their own little arc and gets their moment to shine in the film. Both were a delight to watch, and some of the best comedic moments were with them.
In this new version, instead of going to visit a Cousin Eddie type character, the family takes a detour and visits Rusty’s sister Audrey and her husband Stone Crandall (Leslie Mann and Chris Hemsworth). They are the perfect couple, which makes Rusty uneasy, as he and Debbie seem to be having marriage issues. Most of the comedy in these scenes is due to Rusty just trying to be the same perfect man that Stone seems to be: Perfect body, successful, big house, rich, nicer everything, etc. As Rusty tries to be just as cool as Stone, it leads to zany things that don’t work out at all.
If you’ve seen the trailer, then you’ve seen the joke of the huge prosthetic member Hemsworth wears as he walks around in his underwear. Yes it’s funny, but doesn’t push the movie forward. It’s more like a break in the film just to show the audience that Hemsworth can be a little funny. And I do mean a little funny. Maybe a better movie could use his comedic talent, but if this is any indication of his humor, perhaps Thor should stick to just hitting things. And poor Leslie Mann who is basically there for window dressing. She has little to say or do, which is a shame for such a talented comedic actress. Many scenes could have used her humor and timing.
As the movie continues on, the Griswold’s run into famous cameo after famous cameo, which of course get crazier as the movie continues. The movie isn’t bad, it’s just that you’ll keep comparing it to the original, and the movie itself never lets you forget it’s a remake/reboot, or whatever the filmmakers want to call it. Zaniness ensues by showing us, in flashbacks, all the different Rustys that came before Ed Helms. And, even going so far as having the family end up in a scene with original stars, Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo, who both look exactly like you’d expect them to look. Scary! The scene is only there to link the old movies and give Rusty the push he needs to continue the adventure to Wally World. This, of course, ends just as badly as the original does, but with a different outcome altogether.
Was this a needed sequel? No. Is it funny? For the most part, yes, but not without many eye-rolls and groans. The major issue with the movie is, where the original relied on talent, good writing/dialogue, and just a pinch of raunchy of 80’s humor, this new version differs itself so far from that; it relies on the Judd Apatow type of gross-out humor rather than maybe having to actually write jokes. Overall, some people may enjoy this new version, but it seems like Hollywood is beating this Vacation horse way past it’s death. At this point, just let it go, and move on.