A Better ‘Vacation’ Than You Expected

A surprise for anyone expecting a tired reboot, Vacation delivers on absurdest humor and revolving door of comedy cameos to make a damn good popcorn flick....

On the Pop Center Podcast we’ve discussed, at great length, our distaste for reboots and unnecessary sequels. Vacation, a second-gen sequel to the original National Lampoon’s Vacation movies, firmly fits in that category but it’s actually bearable. More than that, it’s actually funny. Unexpectedly funny.

First, some basics. Vacation is the first in the movie’s lineage to trade out Clark Griswold for Rusty, Chevy Chases’ son throughout the series. If you know the movies, you’re aware that Rusty changes throughout the series, varying in age and actor throughout its history. This movie not only acknowledges that, it makes jokes about it. And that’s what you need to expect from the rest of the movie.

Vacation isn’t so much a movie as it is a series of road trip themed vignettes. The movie comes across more or less like a series of comedy sketches pieced together to fit into the overall story of a family vacation movie. There are some recurring pieces and bits that stretch the length of the movie but it’s altogether entertaining.

Vacation also doesn’t take itself seriously. It’s actually so outlandishly silly, it’s refreshing to see. Movies like A Million Ways To Die In The West tried this but ultimately failed by being far too narrow where, when it did venture far from the plot, it seemed disconnected. Each scene is presented with an almost textbook formula — the premise, the setup, the punchline and the payoff. By the end of the movie it becomes so uniform, it’s easy to get the jokes without dwelling too much and it just becomes a sort of amusement park ride to sit in and enjoy.

There’s not much smart humor, in case you somehow expected that. Instead, it’s filled with cameos from comedy stars galore and silly bits that you have to laugh at.

Also, everyone knows the “singing Kiss From A Rose” gag was best on Community.

The Good
  • Great script
  • Not cheezy
The Bad
  • Not for everyone
  • More sketch comedy than movie
  • Overall

Pop culture geek, tech enthusiast, co-host of the Pop Center Podcast and on-air personality on SiriusXM.
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