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Ed Helms – Rusty Griswold
Christina Applegate – Debbie Griswold
Skyler Gisondo – James Griswold
Steele Stebbins – Kevin Griswold
Chris Hemsworth – Stone Crandall
Leslie Mann – Audrey Griswold-Crandall
I’m sure they tried re-inventing a National Lampoon flick with this, but in all honesty it didn’t work. Vacation contained some dialogue and comedy moments you’d see in the classic 80’s spin-offs but they didn’t fit. The comical antics seemed out of their time, in the wrong era. Performing a scene between two characters where the lead male speaks like in obvious montone to the other (think Ron Burgundy in Anchorman) didn’t sound right at all. And in fact, Russell seemed to be the only person taking off the ‘Lampoon’ style – he was completely out of place when on screen with others, it came across just plain weird. In a sense, Helms made the perfect Lampoon; cheesy and dry-humoured, he displayed everything a character in one of those movies should. But no one else seemed to be on his level – it was like watching a member of the Brady Bunch family on the set of Suits. He didn’t fit at all.
Vacation wasn’t hilarious in the slightest. It made me laugh in places, but otherwise remained lightly humorous. I was expecting roars of laughter from the audience but these never came – some of them laughed out loud during particular scenes, but these were subtle. I hate movies like this; a trailer which makes you think, “oh nice. I’ll definitely watch that” and then you exit the cinema thinking, “..wouldn’t mind getting my money back for that”. Perfect example of this one. It was just plain weird. Like a warm-up farce on screen before you relax and start watching a different movie.
Chris Hemsworth makes an appearance as Russell’s brother-in-law Stone. He’s not bad at all, delivering some good comedic moments with a deliciously vain attitude. Although he has a short screen time, the actor makes a great addition to the cast with his overbearing tales of heroism and experience. And then came his penis..
When Russell and Debbie arrive at the house of their closest relations, they get cleaned up (after an accident with raw sewage) and later get into bed for a restful night’s sleep.
Until Stone enters their room with a (ironically) rock-hard erection. The thing is massive. Meaty. Enormously girthy.
He enters the room, knowing what’s on display and decides to promote it; Stone stands talking complete crap – including how to use a television remote control – delaying his presence in the couple’s room. He then hoists his leg up onto a chair to demonstrate how to press buttons on the remote control, so that his penis flops even further down his leg.
I HOWLED with laughter. This scene was so wonderfully weird, Hemsworth played it very well and it was probably one of if not THE funniest scene in the entire movie. The audience are quite literally saved by the bellend at this point. The comic relief was much needed.
And watch out for another slitty-eyed actor to complement Chris Hemsworth towards the end of the movie..
For those of you familiar with The Walking Dead, a certain actor from the series pops up as a cameo and delivers a laugh-out-loud moment which is far from the atmosphere he creates in the post-apocalyptic television show. It was refreshing to have him make his slitty-eyed appearance with comedy.
Some of the things the father comes out with during the movie are just vile. Unnecessary. And mostly directed towards his own son which was slightly unnerving.
Scenes between Russell and James Griswold mainly focused on the whole father-son thing where the father tries to educate the son on the subject of love, and sex. But in this circumstance, the father went a little too far..
A scene involving young James and a girl he falls for turns gruesome when the boy’s father enters the picture, posing as a paedophile. Strutting along behind them Russell gets dirty – and even starts describing the sexual act of a ‘rim job’. It makes for disgusting viewing, I was quite shocked.
Another scene sees the two children pop to the toilet during one of their pit stops. When the younger one reappears and announces there was a big hole in his cubicle wall. “looks like you found a glory hole!!” the father yells proudly.
I sat staring at the screen, speechless. Mouth open slightly and frowning I was appalled at the disgusting irrelevance. I wasn’t sure what Ed Helms thought he was achieving with Vacation so far, but he was failing miserably.
Vacation is a terrible film, seriously. I’m not surprised it earned 26% on Rotten Tomatoes. Led by an unbelievable couple (and I mean unbelievable – Helms and Applegate didn’t make a convincable pairing at all) and a lot of irrelevant scenes, it started comically but became a tedious shambles I hoped would finish quickly.
The movie is also made up of dijointed scenes; the fast pace it moves at being too fast as each scene seems to jump one to the other without time to reflect on what just happened. There really isn’t much substance – Vacation is like a drawing board where the producer’s ideas are thrown at it and not tied together properly. One scene jumps to the next – that scene ends and jumps to the next, there really is no structure to it.
This is one of those movies that is a prime example of when a great concept goes wrong. Because the idea is brilliant; a family driving cross-country to reach their holiday destination where anything could happen to them, individually as well as together. Produced in the right way and performed with excellent comedic timing by the right cast, a movie like that could be utterly hilarious.
But it wasn’t.
Vacation was boring. A sorely missed opportunity which fell flat on its arse.
If it’s a fast-paced, eventful comedy you’re after then this is not the movie. Steer well clear of this unless you need a rainy day time-filler.