Directors: John Frances Daily, Jonathan Goldstein
Major Players: Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Chris Hemsworth
Out Of Five: 2.5
It’s August, so it’s time to go on holiday. In Corrie, Fiz, Tyrone and their mates have gone camping and you just know it’s going to go wrong, especially as they’ve run into a survival know-it-all in the shape of Paddy McGuinness.
And as soon as I mention the name Griswold, you know their holiday will be a shambles as well. This is the next generation, but that changes nothing. If anything, Rusty (Ed Helms) is as accident prone as his dad, so much so that you can only assume his two sons falls into the accident category as well. He’s a pilot working for a budget airline and, although he doesn’t do much in the way of long haul, he still feels that he doesn’t spent enough time with his family. So he decides that, instead of going to the same old, same old cabin for their annual vacation, he’s taking them on a road trip that will culminate in sampling the delights of the new Velociraptor ride at – you’ve guessed it – Walley World.
We’ve been there before, haven’t we? And we’ve been here before too, because you just know that everything’s going to go wrong in spectacular fashion. Just how funny you find it depends on just how puerile you like your comedy. Or, indeed, crass and tasteless – because there’s plenty of both.
Did it make me laugh? Occasionally. I expected to hate it and I didn’t come away feeling like that, although that blasted “Holiday Road” song has to be the ultimate ear worm and is still haunting me now. But there were times when the film was so gross that is was either embarrassing or revolting or a combination of both. And there were times when it simply set a new low in tastelessness.
One of the funniest things for me was the car – well, actually the satnav. The vehicle looks like two cars sandwiched together and, given all the gizmos it has, there’s plenty of things to go wrong there as well. And they do. The satnav turns out to be multi-lingual and, somehow, starts speaking different languages, settling on a really shouty, aggressive Korean, which is hilarious. And it pops up regularly when they visit somewhere new. It’s certainly better than the family trying to massacre Seal’s Kiss From A Rose.
What I kept trying to figure out was why the likes of Chris Hemsworth, Michael Pena and Ron Livingstone were in it. OK, they only have small roles, and you hardly notice Pena’s name on the cast list, but Hemsworth ……. well, let’s just say what everybody will remember him for being hung like Thor! Pena’s in one of the funnier scenes, which involves a monument where four states come together – and where couples think it would be fun to get cosy. He is, of course, one of four state police that patrol the place – or, at least, their particular quarter of it.
Fans of the Vacation series will no doubt be delighted to know that the original Dad and Mum, Chevy Chase and Beverly Di Angelo, put in an appearance running an San Francisco B&B. Like you’d want to stay there! But, ultimately, the film just lurches from one set piece to another, trying desperately to be funny and mostly missing the mark.
It’s 30 years since the first Vacation so, with a new generation of Griswolds and a new generation of cinema goers, it’s time to repeat the formula all over again. After all, there’s money to be made!
Vacation is released in cinemas nationwide today and is also reviewed on Talking Pictures.