Vacation is a riotous comedy in which anything can happen and mostly everything and even more does, taking spending quality time with your family to the extreme.
For fans who remember the classic National Lampoon Vacation comedies that first hit the screen over three decades ago, giving audiences lasting memories of the disasters that can befall a family on a cross-country road trip, this new trip introduces us to the next generation of Griswolds, a dysfunctional American family that is disaster in action.
If you enjoy comedy that is wild and totally outrageous, where wacky gets new meaning, Vacation is laugh-out-loud silliness that will entertain as much as it will offend and shock.
Comedy is definitely in the eye of the beholder and if you find a family leisurely swimming around in human faeces hysterical, a small tractor smashing through a cow side-splitting, or Chris Hemsworth (Thor) prancing around in his bulging underpants to exhibit his manhood, then Vacation will most definitely tickle your funny bone.
Not sophisticated or intelligent
It's not sophisticated or intelligent humour, but tells it like it is without holding back.
In this outing Ed Helms (from The Hangover films) and Christina Applegate (the Anchorman films), takes the family 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 surprises his wife and their two sons with a cross-country trip back to America's 'favourite family fun park', Walley World.
Anything that could possibly go wrong to turn vacation heaven into absolute hell does.
Horrible Bosses scribes Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley wrote Vacation, which also marks their feature film directorial debut. Both are die-hard fans of the film franchise, particularly the one that launched it.
"We love 'National Lampoon's Vacation'; it's legendary," Goldstein attests. "We wanted our new take on 'Vacation' to work for people who know and love the original, but also for those who may not be familiar with it."
Daley agrees. "It was important for the new movie to be able to stand on its own while still paying respects to its classic predecessor."
"The script was so damn funny, contemporary, totally fresh and original, but still in keeping with the comedic values of the original movie," Helms states, thrilled to join the family. "It was more than an exciting creative opportunity. As far as I'm concerned Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo are comedy royalty, and it's a privilege to exist not only in the same universe that they brought to life as the Griswolds, but to actually be in this movie with them."
Christina Applegate was also enthusiastic about continuing the Vacation legacy. "I'm a huge fan of the Griswolds and their saga. We all came on board because of what Beverly and Chevy created," says Applegate.
She was also drawn to what she describes as the directors' rapier wit. "It's sharp and smart and yet they are able to write heart. It can't all be snark; there has to be an emotional thread and it was there, woven into the crazy comedy and mishaps. That was a big plus for me."
Goldstein and Daley's instincts convinced Chase and D'Angelo to slip into their familiar characters once again. Having the ones who started it all bless Vacation with their presence was worth the price of admission for everyone involved.
"It was a dream come true. We were fan-boying the entire time we were directing," laughs Goldstein.
Everything going wrong
Chase, who returns as one of the world's best known - and wackiest - on-screen fathers, now a grandfather, reflects: "There's something about the optimism in the Griswolds that is relatable. Regardless of everything going wrong that can go wrong, they're going to get to Walley World or wherever, and that's where everything's going to go right. Of course, it doesn't, but that's what it's all about, wanting it to, and it's those little comic moments along the way that really make it worth the trip. I loved the script and John and Jonathan's take and was flattered to be invited along," he continues. "I think this 'Vacation' will make people laugh a lot."
D'Angelo, who returns as Ellen Griwsold, recalls: "It became a kind of phenomenon that has never really gone away. I just think that there's something about Clark Griswold that struck a familiar chord in people, to make a dream come true against all odds. Somehow I think the Griswold family vacations embody that."
Goldstein adds: "There's no such thing as a functional family. But we still want to believe there can be. We want the Griswolds to do it. We want them to get it right. They just can't."
"We hope the audience has fun rooting for them," relates Daley, "and is relieved that at least their family's not that crazy."
Daniel Dercksen has been a contributor for Lifestyle since 2012. As the driving force behind the successful independent training initiative The Writing Studio and a published film and theatre journalist of 40 years, teaching workshops in creative writing, playwriting and screenwriting throughout South Africa and internationally the past 22 years. Visit www.writingstudio.co.za