We live in a time of reboots. A new Ghostbusters, talks of Indiana Jones and most recently, Vacation. For those of you who don’t know, the original Vacation came out today, July 29th, in 1983. On my one year birthday! The original Vacation was a slapstick rated R comedy with a good amount of heart mixed in about a family trying to get to Wally World. Simple enough, right? Wrong. Everything that can go wrong does go wrong and hilarity ensues. Granted, some of my memories may be heavily tainted by nostalgia, but overall it was a fun movie filled with memorable moments. The question is: can 2015’s Vacation live up to the original’s pedigree or will it fade into obscurity like a certain movie involving crystal skulls?
The newest Vacation stars Ed Helms, Rusty Griswold and his wife Debbie played by Christina Applegate. It’s been thirty years since rusty went on the most memorable trip of his young life and with his recent family vacations becoming stale, he decides an adventure is just what his family needs. Hopefully with a lot less difficulty, but probably not.
From the opening scene, it’s pretty obvious that the humor bar has been lowered to fit with today’s trend of vulgar comedy. Not to say the original Vacation was clean, it wasn’t, it too was rated R for “sexual material, brief nudity and language.” But, there is a pretty wide gap between 1980’s rated R and 2015’s offering. Language and content issues aside, the second biggest issue I had with Vacation is the generally unlike-ability of the Griswold family. Yes, there were some funny moments with Rusty and his son James (Skyler Gisondo) that made the movie a little more tolerable. But not enough to save it from his son Kevin (Steele Stebbins) and his nagging wife. Here’s a movie tip for you aspiring directors: When half of your main comedy cast is unlikeable, we don’t want to watch your movie. Even the wide array of cameos from some of today’s best comedians proved disappointing in this overall forgettable film full of over-the-top, gross out gags with little to no setup and very predictable unsatisfying payoffs.
I think, for now, I’ve had enough of the Griswold misadventures. Well… At least until Christmas.