Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
USA, 2015. BenderSpink, David Dobkin Productions, New Line Cinema. Screenplay by John Francis Daley, Jonathan M. Goldstein, based on characters created by John Hughes. Cinematography by Barry Peterson. Produced by Chris Bender, David Dobkin. Music by Mark Mothersbaugh. Production Design by Barry Robison. Costume Design by Debra McGuire. Film Editing by Jamie Gross.
The classic Griswold adventure that saw Chevy Chase trying to get his family to a theme park against all incredible odds has been rebooted to full satisfaction, with Ed Helms taking over as Chase’s now grown up son on the same mission. His wife (Christina Applegate, delightful) and two sons are thoroughly bored of going to the same cabin on their annual holiday, so Helms comes up with a brilliant plan: his trip to Walley World was such a terrific experience as a kid that he is pretty sure his emo older son (constantly humming a tune on his guitar) and mean bully of a younger boy (who, like his brother, is hilarious) should enjoy. Unfortunately, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and the road between Chicago and the California theme park is paved with nothing but misadventure. A strangely outfitted rental car, toxic hot springs, a handsome and mysteriously well-endowed weather man (Chris Hemsworth, whose scenes with Leslie Mann as Helm’s sister are too few), a motel room that would make Norman Bates scream and no end of physical mishaps are constantly being thrown in the Griswolds’ faces while celebrity cameos and even a visit with some classic cast members add up to a surprisingly funny treat. Whether or not it lands in the classic bin with its original counterpart is for time to tell, but this one does a great job of recreating the middle ground between sweet and profane that the Vacation films are known for, while piling up the humorous antics enough to keep you chuckling throughout.