2015/ Director. John Francis Daley & Jonathan M. Goldstein
Review by Jarret Gahan.
After a dinner with family friends, Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms) steps up his game and rather than take his family on the annual pilgrimage to a cabin in Michigan, he decides a cross-country road trip is in order, culminating in a visit to Wally World. As to be expected with any Griswold vacation, misfortune occurs every few miles, from a malfunctioning car rental to budget highway accommodation to awkward family reunions and subsequent laughter ensues at every turn.
Helms, a talented comic actor doesn't deviate from his blundering nice guy shtick but it's a perfect fit for the patriarchal role of Rusty, endearing yet somewhat inept. His wife, Debbie is played by seasoned comedy actress Christina Applegate and while her character isn't too far removed from that of mother-in-law Ellen, a suffering yet supportive wife, she does have a few skeletons in her closet and Applegate plays her flawlessly. Their children, eldest James (Skyler Gisondo) & Kevin (Steele Stebbins) as bickering polar opposites and make for an interesting dynamic, reflecting the franchise's previous son and daughter combination. Cameos from veteran characters and flavour-of-the-month celebrities are a mixed bag with more misfires than hits but it only reinforces the strong chemistry of the central cast.
Unfortunately the trailers do reveal some genuine stand out sequences in the film however in the context of the feature they maintain their hilarity and the frequency of gags are evenly paced throughout, ensuring there is never a dull moment to be found. Cast your fears aside, VACATION is neither dependent on re-treading former glories or resting on its laurels, "the new vacation...stand[s] on its own" and worthy of the franchise’s enduring legacy.