The reboot of Vacation may make you long for the days of European Vacation, which came 30 years before it. Not the original Vacation from 1983, which this pic is most inspired by. Not Christmas Vacation from 1989. This new entry doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as those two franchise highlights. I’m saying this is substandard to the Griswolds overseas adventure, which was certainly nothing special and this is more on the level of 1997’s unfortunate Vegas Vacation when the series ran out of steam.
Our fifth flick concentrates on grown up Rusty (Ed Helms) and his bored wife (Christina Applegate) taking their two boys to Walley World, the famed amusement park from the original. What follows is an R rated celebration of sex jokes, poop jokes, and pedophilia jokes (yep) that does little to capture the spirit of when Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo took their brood from Chicago to California the first time around. There’s plentiful nods to the ’83 pic and even Clark and Ellen show up for a surprisingly unfunny cameo where Chevy essentially bumbles around for five minutes. Sister Audrey appears in the form of Leslie Mann, now married to weatherman hunk Chris Hemsworth (who does manage to provide a few weak laughs). Cousin Eddie is nowhere to be found (let’s assume he went to Canada).
Vacation isn’t terrible but the majority of its jokes are obvious lowbrow and tired ones mixed in with intermittent genuine laughs. The new Griswolds incarnation is uninspired and this is not a Vacation we need.
** (out of four)