The Warsaw Voice » World of Movies » Monthly - September 30, 2015
Film review
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We have a new and very strong contender for the worst movie of 2015. Directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein (apparently, it takes two directors to make a film like this), Vacation is an unpalatable mix of obscene so-called humor, vulgar jokes centered on sex and defecation, crude exchanges peppered with four-letter words, and sickening sentimentality thrown in for good (or bad) measure. The movie clocks in at slightly less than 100 minutes, over which time you might perhaps grin a few times without feeling embarrassed that you did so.

Vacation is spin-off/remake of a comedy of the same title from 1983 that spawned several sequels in the 1980s and 1990s. Critics dismissed the original series as silly entertainment, but compared with the new film, the old movies now seem worthy of an Academy Award. The plot of Vacation closely follows that of the first movie, directed by Harold Ramis. In the original comedy, a salesman called Clark Griswold and his wife Ellen (Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo, both of whom make cameo appearances in the new movie) drove off from their Chicago home to Walley World theme park in California. They took their two teenage kids along, a boy named Rusty and his sister Audrey. Other than a vacation, the trip was intended as a way for the family to bond. Needless to say, the quest turned into a nightmare from day one and the same happens in the new Vacation movie. This time, the family is headed by a grown-up Rusty (Ed Helms—The Hangover series), a low-cost airline pilot married to Debbie (Christina Applegate—Married with Children television series). They are accompanied on the road trip by two sons, a teenager called James and his younger brother Kevin.

Some of the gags and jokes in the movie from 32 years ago may have been crude and corny, but at least they were funny. As soon as the 2015 Vacation begins, you realize the screenwriters have absolutely no clue about how a good comedy is made. For starters, they give you a remotely controlled “Albanian” family car. At the press of a button disasters happen: bumpers fall off, windows crack, the roof explodes and, just wait for it, the driver’s seat swivels around to face the rear. The real “fun” starts when the family reaches mommy’s old college in Memphis, Tennessee, and then continues via hot springs in Arkansas to the Texas home of Rusty’s married sister. In the process, you get treated to such “attractions” as a protracted throw-up scene, a swim in a pond full of human feces and a cow spectacularly run over by a quad bike. Mr. and Mrs. Griswold use the vacation as an opportunity to spice up their mundane sex life, but the results are lamentable. In the meantime, their younger son tirelessly torments his big brother, which is apparently hilarious.

At the end of the movie, things get overwhelmingly soppy as the spark returns to the Griswolds’ marriage and the boys become best friends. Viewers will just feel happy they can finally rush out of the theater. However, the thought of a possible sequel will likely cause them sleepless nights.

Witold Żygulski