There comes a point in your life where you sit down to watch a movie, and even though you're just sitting through it for the first time, you can already tell that the movie you're watching is so bad that it will live on as one of the worst movies you'd ever witnessed. That happened to me on the night of July 22, 2015 at an early screening of Vacation.
The Vacation movies are some of the all time classics of comedic cinema . . . well, at least the first and third ones are. National Lampoon's Vacation is still one of the funniest movies I've ever seen, and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is in my opinion one of the definitive Christmas movies out there, and one that I pop in every year. So when the prospect of a new film in this franchise came about, I was naturally curious, but cautiously optimistic, especially with the talent they were able to get on board. Unfortunately, though, this movie takes everything I and many others loved about those original films, shits on them, then proceeds to piss in our faces and give us the finger. Vacation is the very definition of shit.
So what's the story (as if any of you care)? This time around, we now follow Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms), who's all grown up and has a wife (Christina Applegate) and two sons (Skyler Gisondo and Steele Stebbins). He's in a bit of a rut, as his relationship with his wife has become kinda stale and he struggles to really connect with his kids. So in an effort to shake things up, Rusty decides to take his family on the road to the same place he and his family went 30 years ago. Yup, it's Walley World.
Now with everything I said about the movie earlier, you might be wondering, "Is there anything even REMOTELY good about Vacation?" Well . . . I suppose. I mean, from a technical standpoint, the movie is relatively well put together. It's shot nicely, the editing's tight (kinda), and the pacing isn't all that bad. Aside from that . . . uh . . . hmm . . . shit, I honestly can't think of anything else. If that's really all the good stuff I can say about a movie, that's kinda sad.
If I could describe Vacation using just one word, I think that word would be "lazy", because that's exactly how this whole endeavor feels. Writer/directors John Francis Daley (Freaks & Geeks FTW) and Jonathan M. Goldstein, who I feel struck gold with 2011's Horrible Bosses, put no effort whatsoever to give any of these moments of "comedy" any sort of thought. They constantly make an effort to go for the raunchiest shit possible, with gags ranging from Rusty's youngest son constantly cussing to the Griswolds bathing in raw sewege, but they don't understand that raunch alone is not enough to make a joke actually funny, and these jokes are just not funny in the slightest. The movie also suffers from the mentality that every joke in here has to be the craziest and "best" joke in here, as each joke gets raunchier and raunchier than the last, without getting any funnier. It was at a point where Chris Hemsworth walked into a bedroom wearing nothing but boxer shorts showing the outline of his huge boner that I was telling myself to walk the fuck out of that theater. I think the only reason I didn't was that I saw the movie for free, so I decided to sit it out and see if it got any better. Alas, it didn't.
It certainly doesn't help that the people actually saying these putrid lines don't really bring much to the table either. I will admit that I thought Christina Applegate and Leslie Mann weren't all that bad in their roles as Rusty's wife Debbie and sister Audrey respectively. They weren't anything great, but they did the best with the poopy material they were given. The rest of the cast, however, is a completely different story. Ed Helms is trying way too hard to be what Chevy Chase was in the first Vacation movie, and it just comes off as annoying. He comes off less like a Griswold and more like Stu from The Hangover, and it feels completely out of place. Along with that, we do of course get the return of Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo as Clark and Ellen Griswold, and though it is nice to see them at first, they're really not given a lot to do here. D'Angelo in particular feels like she's just there for the sake of being there, as she has about 3 lines at most, and none of them were really going for a laugh. Chris Hemsworth also feels really forced in his short role (as does his junk), and this movie somehow manages to make both Charlie Day and Keegan-Michael Key annoying as all hell. Now THAT is just criminal!
I feel like talking about this movie for much longer will make me wanna stab myself in the jugular with a screwdriver, so I think I'll wrap up the review here. Vacation is so bad, it honestly made me physically ill. I'm not even kidding. This may sound like a bold statement, but I really mean it when I say that Vacation is 2015's Jack and Jill. It is honestly that bad. No effort put in whatsoever, no attempts to actually provide clever humor, nothing of value to be found here at all. Want my advice? When this piece of shit comes out this weekend, go see Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation instead (I just saw it, and it's FUCKING AWESOME), then go to Target and buy the Blu-ray of the original Vacation movie and watch it at home. That'll provide for a far more enjoyable movie-watching experience. This on the other hand is the biggest piece of lazy uninspired bullshit I've seen since last year's crown jewel of turd, God's Not Dead. So yeah, this movie sucks the big one. And because of this shit stain of a film, the fact that Daley and Goldstein are now writing the new Spider-Man movie makes me significantly less excited for it. Thanks a bunch, assholes!