Helms turns “Vacation” into a catastrophe

Published by adviser, Author: Amber Cannon - Campus Life Editor, Date: September 10, 2015

When the next movie in a series premieres, you expect the it to be better than the previous one. “Vacation,” the latest installment of the “National Lampoon’s Vacation” series, offered a weak and boring film experience. Compared to the earlier movies in the “Vacation” series, the comedy is a boring and unpleasing movie experience with a disconnected cast and a mediocre script.

“Vacation” focuses on Rusty Griswold, Clark Griswold’s son, who after feeling like he is losing his relationship with his wife and children takes his family on a road trip across the country to an amusement park that he used to go to as a child, Walley World. Rusty wants to show his family that he can actually be the “cool father” who doesn’t just take his family to the same old cabin every year, but struggles with finding the time, since he is a pilot. I finally feel some connection between this movie and “National Lampoon’s Vacation” when Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase), shows up and tells Rusty it was his dream to take his family to Walley World and he shouldn’t give up trying to get them there. 

Once the family road trip begins, Rusty immediately starts to try to improve his relationship with his wife, Debbie Griswold (Christina Applegate) and sons, James (Skyler Gisondo) and Kevin Griswold (Steele Stebbins).

The movies in the “National Lampoon Vacation” series are laid out in a sequence with not a lot of clarity. The viewer has to navigate through the movies, while getting to know a new version of the Griswold family through every different movie. In the earliest film of the series, “National Lampoon’s Vacation”, you rarely see as much cursing from the children or as much inappropriate behaviors as you do in the latter movie, “Vacation.” Instead of having the movies and storylines intertwine, every movie in the series offers a different plot. “Vacation” brings in a whole new cast, which causes the viewer to focus more on the unfamiliar cast rather than the movie itself.

The children in the movie automatically steal the show and not because of their acting, but because of the fact that they swear throughout the whole movie, which wouldn’t be realistic in today’s world. I was disappointed to find out that Ed Helms didn’t take this movie to the top. Compared to the earlier movies in the series, Clark Griswold seemed more of a family man by being a great father to his children, while also drawing a line when his kids were disrespectful. Helms’ character seemed average. He battled between being a “cool father,” and setting a hard exterior so that his children and his wife could respect him more. This was disappointing because being that this movie was the apart of the “Vacation” series, I expected Rusty to take over more of Clark’s qualities as a father.

What separates “Vacation” from the other movies in the series is the terrible and awkward script. It was annoyingly unfunny and involved some stereotypical family moments that made it hard for me to connect to me, for example, when Rusty takes Debbie to her old sorority house at college and gets drunk and vomits in front of her children. “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” focuses more on traditional family values that helps the viewer connect more to the characters.

“Vacation” is a movie that I would most likely forget about in a week. The movie had a few spots where I chuckled. With the proper humor and maybe even better casting, this movie could have been great, but it missed the mark on many different accounts by not relating or staying true to the “National Lampoon Vacation” series.



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