Director: John Francis Daley, Johnathan M. Goldstein
Cast: Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Chris Hemsworth
Spoilers Within: No
Originally posted 7th January 2016 on Letterboxd.
Let’s clear this up: the animosity and general ugliness toward the fifth film in the National Lampoon cannon is principally down to the previous four (or less?) being held in far higher consideration than they really should be. This isn’t to say that the original Vacation or Christmas Vacation are bad per se, just that they’re part of a (mostly) homogeneous series. If you loathe this installment, by rights you should loathe the rest.
Vacation is no better than those before (and I can only assume no worse than the DTV releases) and so remains a nonessential by-the-numbers family holiday containing a handful of scene-stealing cameos and a relentless sense of chaotic goofiness. The jokes come thick and sludgy (more often than not failing to land) but are delivered with such gusto from the ever-lively Ed Helms and the more-than-game Christina Applegate that a chuckle is never too far away.
It’s flimsy – and at times a little pessimistic and reliant on underserved nostalgia – but it’s not without its own style of charm, and isn’t that exactly what people liked about the Griswold’s in the first place?