When word first surfaced that there was finally going to be another “Vacation” movie coming out, I was more than a little apprehensive. The original series also known as National Lampoon’s Vacation, Vegas Vacation, European Vacation and Christmas Vacation were all hits in their own rights. More specifically, they have a cult following that is rabid in support of them and that usually doesn’t translate well for “newer” entries. Vacation, starring Christina Applegate and Ed Helms is a continuation of the series, not a remake or a reboot so don’t call it one.
The story is set up decently enough, the Rusty who is all grown up now and played by Ed Helms is not happy in his airline pilot job. It sucks, his co-workers are straight out of Airplane and one particular competing pilot is a complete ass-hat to Rusty whenever possible. At home things are not much better, his wife (Christina Applegate) is slowly getting less happy with their annual vacation to “the cabin” and his two sons can’t get along at all- the younger bullying the older into submission throughout life. It is time for Rusty to make a change in their doldrums filled lives and he is going to do it in a big way, by taking a family vacation in a car across the country to Wally World (the happiest place on Earth).
Meet the Tartan Prancer
A vacation movie wouldn’t be a Vacation movie without one messed up looking car and this new Vacation doesn’t disappoint. The Tartan Prancer is rife with trouble before the Griswold family even loads their stuff in. One funny scene that was shown in the commercials involved Rusty’s arm getting slammed in the door, supposed to be perfectly safe because there is a “sensor” that will stop the door. Not so quick. This scene is still just as funny after seeing it a few times on television. The Tartan is also equipped with dual sets of mirrors that look right back at each other- one set normally placed and the other towards the rear of the vehicle. This thing is all kinds of messed up and it is hilarious because you know it is not going to go all that well for this poor deformed car.
There are plenty of references to the original National Lampoon’s Vacation such as musical scores and even the iconic car makes a return. Also, another tribute to the original series is that we finally find out what happened to the original Griswold parents and how the years have treated them. This scene set is yet another laugh out loud series of events- Chevy Chase still has it.
The problem that most people who are reviewing this movie have is that they probably aren’t old enough to remember the originals. If you were born after a certain time and didn’t catch these movies during the 80’s when it was like watching parts of your life in a movie, you missed a major connection that simply cannot be replicated. The originals were generational movies and too many youngsters today think those originals are crap because they “don’t get them”. Go back to watching Yu-Gi-Oh or One Piece on Youtube, Vacation carries the series into the new era quite well.