Vacation – Review ****

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Holiday Road, ooohhh, ohhhhh….

Yes, my friends, they did a sequel/remake/reboot of the National Lampoon’s franchise. But before you run for the hills, let’s take it out of the way shall we? They got it right.

Vacation is the perfect silly season film. A much loved franchise, a road trip comedy, an earworm of a song as soundtrack. In their directorial debut, screenwriters John Francis Daley and Jonathan M Goldstein push all the right buttons (except the swastika one) to deliver what ends up being a love serenade to the original. Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms) is all grown up and when he realizes that his family – wifey Debbie (Christina Applegate) and sons James (Skyler Gisondo) and Kevin (Steele Stebbins) – are sick of going to the same cabin every year, he plans a road trip to Walley World – yes, just like the one from National Lampoon’s first film. What if you’re not familiar with the franchise? Well, rest assured that the new vacation will stand on its own. Actual movie quote right there.

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Comedies may end up belly flopping as humour is a delicate art (and not everyone appreciates the same kind of jokes), but what Vacation does extremely well, is to deliver a lot to everyone. There’s black humour (aplenty). There’s sexual innuendos and er, crappy jokes. There’s slapstick, puke and an overly-agressive Korean GPS. From the older brother who has 7 different diaries and wants to hit the great American Road (and is constantly bullied by the younger brother), to the Albanian car that Rusty rents out (all bells and whistles and, er, outside cup holders?), making a quick stop at Debbie’s old fraternity and, of course, being chased by a scary truck driver; the Griswold’s holiday is all we could ever hope for – meaning, it’s a complete disaster. Open your eyes for plenty of cameos, and yes, Chevy Chase does make an appearance, as well as the original Griswold family car. 

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Ignore the bad reviews. This is the same pair that brought us Horrible Bosses,  so do expect the same kind of irreverence and originality in this R-rated feature. Yes, it can be at times predictable, but the cast delivers a solid performance (Look at you, Ed Helms! Looking good, going places!) and hey! It’s a new Griswold family adventure! How cold can your heart be not to enjoy it? Leave your brain at home, bring a bag of 80s nostalgia, sit down, sing along to some Seal and ride on to Walley World. Maybe avoid that mushroom button, though…

Vacation will be in UK cinemas on 21st August

Sara is originally from Coimbra, Portugal, where she studied Film Studies before moving to London to enrol in film school. Having made her first short film about her neighbour's chickens when she was 9 (a dystopian sci-fi, still her favourite genre), she is now a London-based film director and editor, and also a writer for the Portuguese Take Magazine. She is a huge fan of Lars Von Trier, Krysztof Kiéslowski, and David Lean.