Director: John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein
Cast: Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Leslie Mann, Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Charlie Day, Michael Peña, Regina Hall, Chris Hemsworth
Runtime: 1 hr 39 mins
Rating: M18 (Nudity and Sexual References)
Released By: Warner Bros
Official Website: http://vacationthemovie.com
Opening Day: 6 August 2015
Synopsis: The next generation of Griswolds is at it again - and on the road for another ill-fated adventure. Following in his father's footsteps and hoping for some much-needed family bonding, a grown-up Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms) surprises his wife Debbie (Christina Applegate), and their two sons with a cross-country trip back to America's "favourite family fun park", Walley World.
No one is probably going to take you seriously when a reviewer outrightly admits that he enjoyed this seventh installment of the National Lampoon’s Vacation series. Those who are, ahem, old enough would know about this comedy movie franchise where the Grisworld family attempts (repeatedly, mind you) to enjoy holidays, but keep getting plagued by disasters and embarrassing situations. Well, those who aren’t, ahem, old enough - this is a good time to get acquainted with this series which started way back in 1983.
And while no self respecting film critic would tell you that the series based on John Hughes’ short story “Vacation ’58” is high art, this writer would tell you: F*** ‘em all, and go enjoy this laugh a minute movie.
There, he has said it. Now comes the part about justifying why this movie helmed by first time directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein is worth four stars, and more importantly, your money.
First up, Ed Helms. Fans of the successful series (the American version) The Office would know Helms as Andy Bernard aka “Nard Dog”. While the character has his fair share of haters, one would have to give Helms credit for filling the shoes of Steve Carell’s protagonist character. And the underrated comedian does have a charming side that we want to root for. Here, he plays a miserable pilot from an economy airline, and all the man wants to do is to bring his family on, yup, a vacation. Destination in point? Walley World, the theme park which he and his family visited. Again, Helms manages to make us feel for the character, amidst the slapstick situations (including the over advertised toxic swamp mistaken for a hot spring, and a bloody dead cow). He is the father and husband who tries so hard to make things work, situations become awry and people end up laughing at him. What’s a man to do these days, you wonder.
Next, we have the wacky family that is the Grisworlds. We love the two sons - a meek and awkward teenager played by Skyler Gisondo and the vulgar and malicious brat played by Steele Stebbins. The chemistry between the two young actors is spot on - you’d be a Scrooge if you don't find yourself laughing out loud at the juvenile jokes. Then there is the wife played by Christina Applegate. Like Helms, the actress may not be your A lister, but she has a certain attraction that, if this columnist may say, women identify with. Playing the role of a wife and mother who wants to have a Paris holiday (only because friends are boasting about it), but have to bring together a family of such disparate characters. You have to hand it to her. And what’s a woman to do these days, you wonder.
Then there is the whole old school comedy feel about this 99 minute movie. Things are not taken seriously, and there is not one self important air around it. You see a voluptuous female driver coming to an unfortunate end, and a heartbroken raft trainer falling off a treacherous waterfall. And you’ll be laughing out loud - literally. This is the kind of comedy that we sorely miss, where slapstick reigns and does its job to entertain.
Oh, if there is one other thing we have to bring up to get you into the cinemas (if you haven't heard about it in the media already), it’s Chris Hemsworth’s glorious six packs and his, err, huge baggage.
(Watch this if all you want is a laugh out loud slapstick comedy for destressing purposes)
Review by John Li