Finally, a Vacation film that is good all around. It puts together the good qualities of the first and second movies to make a solid third installment.
Maybe I’m just getting used to these characters and the style of these films, but I’m certainly liking them more and more with each one.
In National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, the series goes back to being about Clark (Chevy Chase) and Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo). And it’s never been more evident than by casting a third pair of children to play Rusty (Johnny Galecki) and Audrey (Juliette Lewis)–which has become an in-joke at this point. Clark attempts to have a perfect Christmas at his home, although it’s being made very difficult with a house full of rowdy relatives.
This film is far more heartwarming than the previous two films, which are a giant batch of straightforward irreverence. But while that style may turn off some viewers, the well-balanced tone of this third film will have a little bit of both to satisfy everyone.
Possibly the highlight of this series is the brilliant running joke with the Griswold’s pretentious neighbors, whose Christmas is getting incidentally ruined as a result of Clark needing to have a perfect one. It speaks of the depth of Clark’s character as well as providing the audience with some of the most amazing pratfalls and farce of the franchise.
It’s still very John Hughes-ey in its writing, but it definitely doesn’t showcase any lack of ideas.