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Review: Vacation (2015)

Ed Helms and Christina Applegate star in Warner Bros. Pictures' "Vacation"

Family vacations are featured in movies quite a bit, but very few have been as memorable as the one’s that have been had by Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) and his family. Dating back to the 1980’s the Vacation franchise has featured a series of movies that many of us remember even if we weren’t quite old enough to be there when they started being released. With that in mind, Warner Bros. is hoping that bringing it back after a long drought is something that the people are receptive to. The major difference is that the original patriarch won’t be the person in the driver’s seat.

The 2015 edition of Vacation features an adult version of Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms), his wife, Debbie (Christina Applegate) and their two sons (Skyler Gisondo and Steele Stebbins). They’ve haven’t been acting as a tight knit clan that Rusty had envisioned lately, but he thinks he can change that with a trip to Walley World, perhaps the greatest theme park in all of America. All they’ll have to do is travel cross country and avoid all of the traps that will get in their way.

Vacation is one of those raunchy, vulgar comedies that seems to be all the rage these days, but it somehow never really gets too insane. While it’s not necessarily a movie aimed at a younger audience, it’s not exactly something that people won’t be able to stomach due to the extreme way these comedies are usually presented. For anyone interested in seeing it, this could be a good thing since it would allow some to relive a portion of their cinematic lives in the form of an updated spin on a popular franchise that’s been dormant for a number of years.

Now, if you’ve read any of my previous reviews about raunchy comedies, you would know that I’m not always a fan of these things since many of them rely solely on the vulgarity rather than actually making jokes. Although that stuff does play a part in Vacation, it’s never the primary source of comedy. As you’ll see for yourself, the delivery of the jokes plays an important part in making things work. That’s something that’s lacking in much of modern comedy, so it’s good to see them try to find a place for it here.

Another aspect of Vacation that helps make it into something a bit more thoughtful than the usual raunchy affair are the characters themselves. While they’re not amazing or anything, they help liven things up. They’re connected to the comedy as well since much of what’s being put out there relies on their personalities, their behaviors and their reactions.

As far as everything else that can be taken into consideration, there’s not a bunch worth noting. This isn’t the deepest of movies, so that could be seen as a bad thing. It is however a humorous movie that’s simply offering up a good time. What they give you during its short run time is good enough to do that. Although some of it is predictably familiar, there’s also a genuine interest to turn this into something that’s presenting at least a few new things.

Nothing in Vacation is spectacular, but you’ll most likely feel satisfied with what’s there after you’ve finished watching it. Of course, one would need to be into this kind of thing to find it entertaining. If you’re one of those people, giving this a chance won’t hurt. There are other options in theaters promising this kind of stuff right now, but I can’t say that I see those offerings as being as good as this amusing romp.

Rating: R

Jonathan Goldstein
John Francis

Ed Helms
Christina Applegate
Skyler Gisondo
Steele Stebbins
Leslie Mann
Cris Hemsworth
Chevy Chase
Beverly D’Angelo

Film Length: 99 minutes

Release Date: July 29, 2015

Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

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