In the latest installment of the National Lampoon series, the dysfunctional and downright crazy Griswold family come together for one last hoorah before the end of summer in Vacation. Met with an unfortunate series of events, Rusty Griswold (played by the LOL master, Ed Helms), his wife, Debbie (blonde bombshell, Christina Applegate) and their two sons, James and Kevin, tackle calamity after calamity, leaving audiences in shambles along the way.
The movie starts off on a funny note, introducing the Hangover actor sans dentist garb and Mike Tyson face tattoo. Rusty realizes that the family has fallen into a fun rut and decides to shake things up by taking a cross-country trip to the theme park, Walley World, a trip his family took over 10 years ago. The turn up soon turns into disaster as the Griswolds are chased, mugged, stranded, and mistakenly bathing in a lake filled with sewage. Still, they continue to weather the storm, keeping their optimism on 100.
The Griswolds manage to get help from their relatives Audrey and Stone Crandall, played by Leslie Mann and the Chris Hemsworth, respectively. The somewhat-conservative (wait till you meet “Debbie Do Anything”) yet quirky family serves as the best part of the film as they deliver Southern hospitality with an XL side of crazy. Still, their bizarre personalities pale in comparison to the looney characters they meet like the Four Corner police officers, the nutty river rafting guide and the teddy bear-loving truck driver (Walking Dead fans, keep your eyes open for this guy).
Despite being a comedy, the film deals with family matters that even Steve Urkel could relate to, like keeping the clan together and for James, girl problems. The movie also showcases beautiful scenery as the Griswolds pass by some of America’s most iconic landmarks like Four Corners, Hot Springs National Park and the breathtaking Chicago skyline. But don’t stress if you haven’t seen the original—this movie is a trip all its own. But if you’re fiending for nostalgia, spoiler alert! Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo reprise their roles as Clark and Ellen Griswold, and are still as eccentric as ever. With clever puns and spot-on comedic timing, this getaway flick takes you on an escape from life’s troubles or better yet, crashes into the ones you’re scared to face.—Mawuena Sedodo