National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation (Movie Review)

One of the funniest movies of 1997, Vegas Vacation lives up to the high standard of comic relief expected from this ongoing series by National Lampoon. Although on the low end of hilarity when compared to Vacation, European Vacation, and Christmas Vacation, the film is nonetheless a non-stop, belly-laughing comedy in its own right. After all, how can we expect anything to live up to the genius of a perfect comedy like Christmas Vacation? Complete with a brand new set of children, Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo once again form an onscreen comedy duo that is simply magical…

When Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) gets a large bonus as a company reward for inventing a new food preservative, he and his wife Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo) decide that the money would best be spent on a good old-fashioned family vacation. But when kids Rusty (Ethan Embry) and Audrey (Marisol Nichols) bicker over the destination, the only place that gets unanimous reviews from the family is a Las Vegas vacation.

Flying to Vegas, the family experiences a series of pitfalls that threatens to tear them apart forever. Clark becomes a gambling addict (even gambling on rock-paper-scissors and a guy doing a “I’m thinking of a number between one and ten” routine at a low-rent casino), Ellen becomes the target of Wayne Newton’s seduction, underage Rusty becomes a gambling superstar under the false identity of Nicholas Pappagiorgio, and Audrey tries her hand in exotic dancing after a rendezvous with her stripper cousin Vicki… Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) makes another show-stealing performance as the redneck, dumber-than-a-doorknob relative, and he shadows Clark around the casinos generously imbibing his beverage of choice – a thirty-ounce can of Busch Light.

The funniest scenes in the film involve Eddie (as always) and his trailer trash family, now living in a trailer on a parcel of land Eddie purchased cheap because it’s a burial ground for nuclear waste. And Rusty’s various exploits under the alias of Nic Pappagiorgio are extremely amusing. Meeting up with a group of quasi-mafia, professional gamblers, Rusty enjoys the massages, comp suites, and various frills associated with the biggest names in the business. Vegas Vacation is just downright funny. If you liked the earlier films, don’t miss this one…

Continuing the stellar reputation of the Vacation film series, Vegas Vacation is pure entertainment fun from beginning to end. Chevy Chase is up to his usual antics, and Wayne Newton turns in a classic performance in his role as Griswold home-wrecker. Family friendly, Vegas Vacation is a comedy made for both parents and children alike. And its role as yet another show-stopper in the long-line of Griswold comedies makes Vegas Vacation a definite must-see……

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National Lampoon’s Vacation (Movie Review)

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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