The Griswold’s are back and are once again on the road to Walley World in this reboot/sequel to the iconic “Vacation” franchise! So, how does this new Vacation hold up? So, is it actually funny? So, is it any good?


Suprisingly!  Vacation follows the now grown up Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms), who after realising his family is in a bit of a rut, decides to recreate his family trip to Walley World that he experienced as a child (and we experienced in 1983’s  “National Lampoon’s Vacation“). Pilling his wife Debbie (Christina Applegate) and his two sons James (Skyler Gisondo) and Kevin (Steele Stebbins) into the car, the Griswolds trek across country to experience America’s favourite theme park. As per the norm, nothing goes as expected!


When this reboot/sequel was first announced, I was a bit hesitant. Surely the original films were so tied to Chevy Chase’s popularity, could a new Vacation movie really work without him in the lead? And whilst the casting of Ed Helms felt almost a bit plain, there was some very exciting about the return to Walley World that got me excited.  So, consider my amazingly surprised  at the amount of laughs I had in the theatre with this new entry. Vacation provides the new generation of Griswold’s with a number hilarious sequences which should keep audiences entertained. There’s isn’t anything ground breaking or edgy in this flick, just a healthy dose of laughs as we watch the family struggle across the country. Ed Helms in solid as the patriarch of the new bunch of Griswolds, though he doesn’t do anything more than his usual shtick has ‘happy go lucky’ guy. A lot of the films laughs come from Rusty’s kids, James and Kevin. The younger son, Kevin, generates plenty of laughs with his crude bullying of his older brother. Its really great and reminded me a lot of the boys in Talledega Nights.  One of the other highlights of the film would be the joys of watching the Griswold’s understanding the functionality of their 2015 Tartan Prancer (the Honda of Albania). The car is really great and provided a huge chunk of the laughs.

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In their travels, the Griswold’s run into a great supporting cast, including sister Audrey (Leslie Mann) and her husband Stone (Chris Hemsworth). Hemworth’s has quite a big role (…see what I did there…), and does great work with what he’s given in his first true comedy role (Home & Away doesn’t count!) , providing a very funny opposite to Ed Helm’s Rusty. Unfortunately Leslie Mann isn’t given much to do as Audrey, nor do Chevy Chase or Beverly D’Angelo returning as Clark and Ellen. It’s a shame that those that were such a strong part of the franchise are almost sidelined, but these 3 characters represent some of the weakest parts of the film. They could be easily jettisoned should the franchise continue (… not anytime soon based on US Box Office Numbers…).

Beyond the appearances from the core family members, there’s some great sequences, and not all of them have been spoilt by the trailers. Charlie Day leads the family on a great rafting sequence, and we learn a lot more about Debbie in a visit to her old Sorority. The first two acts of the film are really, really great, and even some meta commentary on rehashing old ideas, which I appreciated. The third act slows down, and ultimately the arrival at Walley World ends up being somewhat abrupt, but like all good vacations, its all about the journey.
I’d recommend you jump in your vacation wagon on choice and head on down to you local cinema to see this one. Fans of the franchise will appreciate the call backs to the older films, but new fans will love discovering the terrible luck that encompasses the Griswold’s when they go on vacation. This isn’t a revolutionary comedy by any means, but should provide an entertaining hour and a half .

Vacation opens August 20 in theatres across Australia.