National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)


A film I obviously remember through Rose-tinted glasses.

I revisited this old “classic”, as it was shown on TV, and I had memories of previously enjoying it.  How wrong I was.  I must have been thinking of a different film !

I know that Chevy Chase seems to be held in high regard, but unfortunately I’m afraid I can’t see why on earth that is.  He sucks !  Wooden, attempting to be “zany” and failing miserably, he is almost a comedy Roy Scheider, just not funny.

This film has to be the least amusing film I can remember watching in ages.  The only things going for it are Lindsey Buckingham’s theme tune “Holiday Road” and Christie Brinkley racing around in a red Ferrari 308, like Magnum P.I. used to have.

Small roles for Randy Quaid and Eugene Levy are only of a fleeting nature, wasted really.

I think that this was meant to be a family film (though the intermittent bad language and nudity renders that impossible), but even so it is as dull as dishwater.  In fact, the film has so few laughs that they had to throw in the eye candy of the soon-to-be Mrs Joel to spice it up.

The “jokes” are so predictable and can be seen so far off that it renders them unfunny.  Pity the poor performers who had to spout this crap.  By the time they get to “Walley World” I really couldn’t give a damn about it, or the fact that it was closed and their trip was a waste of time.  Even the late great John Candy can’t save this when he appears.

That this is considered the best of the Vacation series really doesn’t say anything good about the other ones.  It also puts a bad light on other films in the “National Lampoon” stable, whether they are related or not.

It’s also a bit of a downer for director Harold Ramis, nearer to the level of the terrible Caddyshack than the classic Animal House, though I’d probably never have known his name if he hadn’t acted as well, with the role of Dr Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters being the one I know best.

4/10.  Probably considered heresy by some, but this really didn’t cross the Atlantic well, and bored me to death !  Just don’t bother !


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