Vacation (2015)

vacation poster 2015 movie christina applegate ed helms
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Christina Applegate, Chris Hemsworth, faithful to feel of original movies

So-so story, expected jokes

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Vacation

Studio:  New Line Cinema

Genre(s):  Comedy

Release Date(s):  July 29, 2015

MPAA Rating:  R


Hey kids…It’s Seal!

Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms) has dreams of a childhood like he had where his family all bonds over a cross-country vacation.  With that in mind, Rusty decides to recreate his family’s vacation by making his wife Debbie (Christina Applegate) and two sons James (Skyler Gisondo) and Kevin (Steele Stebbins) travel from Chicago to Walley World.  Unfortunately, Rusty has forgotten that the original vacation hit some bumps, and the more things change, the more things stay the same.

Directed and written by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, Vacation is a comedy “soft relaunch/reimagining” of the original National Lampoon’s Vacation from 1983.  The movie was released to mostly negative reviews and had a rather strong box office showing with a relatively low budget.  The short cameo by Chevy Chase earned him a Worst Supporting Actor Razzie nomination (along with his appearance in Hot Tub Time Machine 2).


I can feel the minerals working!

National Lampoon’s Vacation was one of my favorite comedies growing up.  It was R-Rated, but there was something wholesome about it that we were allowed to see although we were kids.  I think the new version of the movie has some of this wholesomeness and despite bad reviews, I found myself laughing through a lot of the movie due to well-time (though expected) comebacks and quips.

The plot for the movie basically follows all Vacation plots.  The angry, disgruntled family gets forced family time and travels across the country.  The movie pokes fun at the idea that all of this has been done before and “remakes” of previous events aren’t generally as good as the original.  This is true, but it still was fun and probably ended up being the third best Vacation in the series (since European Vacation is pretty weak and Vegas Vacation is awful).


Check out my remote control!

The movie mostly succeeds by having a pretty foul mouth.  All the characters swear a lot (even the kids) and that always gets some laughs.  The whole family talks like sailors and this can be off-putting for some people.  I can’t imagine my parents talking like this in front of me nor could I ever talk like this in front of my parents, but it’s a movie (and some families probably talk like this).

Ed Helms might be part of the reason that people struggled with the movie.  He is a like him or hate him character and he (ironically like Chevy Chase) is kind of a one trick pony as an actor.  Christina Applegate on the other hand always seems solid and Steele Stebbins as the younger (and fouler mouth kid) is also good.  I didn’t feel Skyler Gisondo really developed enough as the “sensitive” Griswold and more could have been done with Leslie Mann’s version of Audrey.  Chris Hemsworth steals his scenes as Audrey’s well-endowed weather man husband Stone Crandall and Charlie Day is more distracting as a tour guide.  Norman Reedus should have had more of a role as the angry trucker and the whole Four Corners cop combo of Tim Heidecker, Nick Kroll, Kaitlin Olson, and Michael Peña could have been cut.  The real show stopper is the visit to parent Beverly D’Angelo and Chevy Chase who have lost their mojo as comedic actors…it might have been necessary but kills any momentum.


This is going to be the best!

Vacation isn’t the best movie, but it was entertaining to me.  They could have used America as a better setting by visiting more of it, but the movie is about laughs and not about how it really looks.  Of remakes and reboots, I thought it did a bit of a better job distinguishing itself from the original source material while still essentially being a Vacation film.  Much of the best funny stuff was in the trailer, but I still found laughs throughout.  We’ll have to wait and see if we’ll get another Griswold trip in the future.

Related Links:

National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)

National Lampoon’s European Vacation (1985)

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

Vegas Vacation (1997)

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 2:  Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure (2003)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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