Vacation is the latest derivative of an unfortunate new wave of comedy, one in which scatological humour, jokes about incest, paedophilia and massive penises define a script more than a comedy which is derived through character development and plot. Early on in the film the Griswold family bathe in human shit, mistaking the raw sewage for a hot spring – anyone intent on satisfying some National Lampoon’s nostalgia here is in for a similar experience.
Early on in the film the co-directors John Francis Daley and Jonathon M. Goldstein wink at the audience as the characters reference the earlier Vacation films, declaring no allegiances to tradition. Yet it is impossible not to compare this with the original National Lampoon’s Vacation (and Christmas Vacation), some of the most timelessly loved American comedies of the 80s. Like the old Vacation, the plot follows a now grown up Rusty Griswold as he tries to recreate the cross country family drive to Wally World. In keeping with the original, Murphy’s Law takes hold and everything that can go wrong will go wrong.
The stark difference here is that everything about this movie is crude and juvenile. From the bullying of the sensitive older brother by the younger brother, to the vomiting and poo gags. The director’s parade Chris Hemsworth’s massive penis around in the film like it’s a character in itself and at times you just feel like you’re in the chaotic narrative free world of a Jackass sketch.
It’s hard to say who the target audience is for this film. Is it The Hangover audience or the nostalgic Chevy Chase fans? It’s definitely wont satisfy the latter, although one of the film’s funniest moments is when Chase reprises his role as Rusty’s father Clark. When the family visit his haplessly run B&B, there’s a lovely moment when Clark clumsily tries to take his old guitar out of the press and give it to his grandson. It’s a simple scene but yet probably the only nice call back to the humour and likeability of the original.
In all the film is a disappointment. You could possibly enjoy it and have a cheap laugh if you’re hungover and get your kicks from incontinence, but you’re best bet is probably just avoid it and go check out the original.
½ a chocolate star.
Vacation is in cinemas now. Check out the trailer below.
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