Quick Movie Review: National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)

vacation

Maybe growing up on National Lampoon’s Vacation would have helped my appreciation, but the humor is dated and the laughs are few and far between.

Not to say that there aren’t any–and the ones that are present are actually quite funny–but when a film decides to be an irreverent comedy, you expect it to be fairly consistent. Many scenes that are meant to be funny aren’t even the ones that I laughed at the hardest. Some of the funniest bits are when Chevy Chase is just being Chevy Chase. Like having a prophetic conversation with his son (Anthony Michael Hall) as his glasses are subtly falling off of his face. Or denying his family from visiting the Gateway Arch in St. Louis–rather, going to places like the world’s 2nd largest ball of twine instead

There are some clever scenes, but in an early-John-Hughes fashion, they appear underdeveloped and disconnected from each other much of the time. It’s a compilation of instances, rather than a story.

The film is about the Griswold family driving from Chicago to Los Angeles to visit a sendup version of Disneyland, called Walley World. On the way, they experience Murphy’s Law firsthand, as just about everything on the trip goes haywire. Chevy Chase plays Clark Griswold–the enthusiastic patriarch whose idea it is to drive to California rather than take an airplane.

Watching the movie, I was never bored, but also not really invested in the characters or in anything that was happening. The film isn’t bad by any means when compared to other comedies. It’s just average. A few memorable scenes, but the rest are throwaways. That is, unless you’re nostalgic about the film–then you can probably recite the lines in their entirety.

I can appreciate its impact and place in popular culture. It’s just that having not grown up with the movie, it’s hard to see past what I’m actually watching.

Twizard Rating: 71

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