2 1/2 Stars
The newly updated version of Vacation, is an occasionally funny trip back to Wally World with the Griswold family. This isn’t the uproarious good-time comedy adventure of 1983, the remake retains much of the spirit, but is unable to capitalize on a good cast and great concept. Ed Helms takes over for Chevy Chase, while Christina Applegate sits in for Beverly D’Angelo.
Eldest son, Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms) decides to follow in his father’s footsteps and take his wife (Christina Applegate) and their two sons across country to a theme park in California. Having not learned anything from the previous mis-adventures, Rusty insits on driving the 2,500 mile journey. He figures this will allow him to grow closer to his dissolving immediate family.
The hijinks start small, a foreign car that has a misprogrammed GPS yelling directions in the Korean language. Before long, Rusty’s perpetually upbeat attitude turns sour as the Griswolds face near-death experiences, well-endowed relatives, and a maniacal truck driver.
This isn’t the low of Caddyshack II, or even European Vacation. Those are truly awful sequels. This Vacation has a couple of good laughs, a few nice moments and an appealing set of actors. It’s only sporadically funny, and the cameos from Chase and D’Angelo feel like contractual obligations. I do give credit to the producers for sticking to their R-rating, otherwise this would have been neutered and rendered insufferable.
Director: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley
Stars: Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Chris Hemsworth