National Lampoon’s Vacation (Movie Review)

Oma H. Barnett

One of the funniest movies of all time, National Lampoon’s Vacation tells the story of a bungling middle-class man’s quest to provide his family with the ultimate family vacation. Complete with a series of laughable diversions along the way, and great casting that provides for a number of hilarious supporting characters, Vacation is a cult comedy classic. Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo form the perfect married couple comedy duo with a banter that is simply magical, and the comic screenplay is well-written with sequence of never-ending laughter…

When Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) decides to take his Chicago family on a trip to Wally World, his wife Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo), along with kids Rusty (Anthony Michael Hall) and Audrey (Dana Barron), try to convince him they should fly. But Clark is intent on taking the new “family truckster” (a brand new lemon he recently purchased) on a cross country drive so as to “see America” along the way. Clark wins the argument, and the family sets off on a nefarious and unforgettable excursion across the Fruited Plain. With a non-stop series of disasters – beginning in the driveway – the Griswold family struggles to deal with hubcap thieves, their Cousin Eddie, vibrating hotel beds, a dead aunt, a tortured dog, and Clark’s insistence on viewing the world’s largest pile of dirt.

When the Griswolds finally reach the end destination of Wally World, Clark and Rusty race to the entrance against the background music for “Chariots of Fire”. But to Clark’s dismay, Wally World’s notable moose character informs them that Wally World is closed for repairs. Flying off the handle, and intent on giving his family the best vacation ever, Clark purchases a handgun and barges into the park. Forcing a security guard (John Candy) to take his family on the various rides via gunpoint, Clark triggers a massive display of police authority on behalf of the local SWAT team…

Sporting hilarious supporting appearances by Randy Quaid, John Candy, and supermodel Christie Brinkley (a Ferrari-driving blonde whose infatuation with Clark threatens to breakup the Griswold marriage), National Lampoon’s Vacation is the quintessential comedy classic. If you’re one of the few people on earth who has managed to miss this one, then I definitely recommend going out and renting it right now. Rated R (by 1983 standards; minus some brief nudity, it would rate as PG today), Vacation is a film you can feel comfortable watching with your children. After all, I saw it when I was five, and I turned out all right! Because of its status as a cult comedy classic, as well as its never-ending laughs, National Lampoon’s Vacation is a definite must-see film. Don’t miss it…

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