Those of you who have been longing for a movie that spotlights the inherent comedy of a grapefruit-sized mound of pubic hair, a guy covered in cow entrails, and a pretty woman getting splattered by a semi, well– you’re finally in luck. Vacation is here.
It’s presented as a thirty-years-later sequel to National Lampoon’s Vacation (the original one… with the Wagon Queen Family Truckster), but make no mistake– this isn’t your father’s Vacation. And it really shouldn’t be anyone’s.
Ed Helms continues the franchise’s in-joke of having a different actor play Rusty Griswold in every film (despite Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo always playing parents Clark and Ellen), but for some reason this marks the first time that Rusty is portrayed as a clueless doofus (chip off the ol’ block, I suppose). Now a pilot for a low-cost regional airline, he’s married to the exasperated Debbie (Christina Applegate), with whom he has two kids– sensitive older brother James (Skyler Gisondo) and his toilet-mouthed (and insanely annoying) bully Kevin (Steele Stebbins). After years of vacationing at a ho-hum cabin in Michigan, Rusty decides it’s time to aim a little higher, so his mission becomes re-creating his childhood road trip to WallyWorld.
Road trip “comedies”-of-errors like this are nothing new (of course), so co-writers and directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein (Horrible Bosses) apparently decided the way they’d make Vacation unique is by upping the lewd-and-crude quotient exponentially.
Along from the already-mentioned examples, we’re also treated to a swim in raw human sewage, jokes about pedophilia and suicide, and gallons of vomit.
There are actually a few moments in Vacation that may elicit a gentle chuckle or two, but by and large, this isn’t much more than 100 minutes of eyeroll-worthy laziness and lewdness. Most of the jokes’ punchlines are telegraphed from miles away, and those that aren’t were in the movie’s trailer… so there’s precious little fresh, solid comedy. Fresh solid waste, though? Yep– plenty of that.