Starring Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Skyler Gisondo, Steele Stebbins, Chris Hemsworth, Leslie Mann
As remakes and stupidity go, Vacation is right up there with some of the worst of the year. In an attempt to capitalize on the resurrection of 80’s films, Vacation is a modern version of the Chevy Chase National Lampoon’s Family Vacation. What’s even worse is that Vacation is nearly a carbon copy of 2013’s We’re the Millers, with Christina Applegate a second rate Jennifer Aniston. Full of low brow jokes for an entirely new audience, those who enjoyed the 1983 family friendly original likely won’t be too happy with the hard R rating and vulgarity. Ed Helms (Cedar Rapids, The Hangover) is quickly gaining on Kevin James as one of the most unwatchable and off putting actors on screen today.
Rusty Griswold (Helms) has noticed his wife’s sour expression in family photos for the past decade during their yearly cabin vacation. He makes the brave decision to take the family, including two teenage boys James (Gisondo) and Kevin (Stebbins), from Chicago to Southern California to Wally World. “You want to put our sons who hate each other in a car together, and drive across the country,” Debbie (Applegate) asks. Rusty’s idea of a family vacation is singing along to Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose”, giving unwittingly inappropriate fatherly advice to his son’s and trying to keep a smiling face when everything on their trip goes completely wrong.
"Full of low brow jokes for an entirely new audience, those who enjoyed the 1983 family friendly original likely won’t be too happy with the hard R rating and vulgarity."
The film’s opening sequence introduces the audience to Rusty’s career as a pilot for a cheap airline (Econo Air); Unfunny skits of him touching passengers inappropriately during severe turbulence where an elderly co-pilot with Alzheimer’s nearly crashes the plane. The lack of laughs get even worse when Rusty comes home and tries to extinguish a fight between his younger son who is tormenting the older. Missing the point of bullying entirely, Rusty instead lectures about gender fluidity, which only lead to more-brash and inappropriately unfunny humor. It’s just the beginning of a 99 minute film filled with low brow humor that we have literally already seen in every other R rated road trip movie in the last decade, including 4 Helms himself has starred in.
Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo do make cameo appearances, but they do nothing more than provide aging examples of how comedy has changed in the past 30 years. Chris Hemsworth hasn’t had much success outside playing Thor, so he tries on vulgar comedy, and a prosthetic penis for size. It’s actually his faucet references and Texan accent that nearly provide a chuckle, until Helms comically vomits all over that scene and every other. If the jokes weren’t bad enough, each of them are repeated twice and if you missed that, the family reminisce about the chaos they endured when they finally reach their destination. Of course the credits are filled with snap shots from the adventures if you haven’t already gouged your eyes and ears.
One of the most painful summer movie experiences of the year.