Movie Review: ‘Vacation’

Disclaimer:

We all remember How I Met Your Mother? Right? If you haven’t, just watch the episode where Marshall, Ted, and Lily go to the hockey game and they take “sandwiches.” I’d recommend YouTube if you just want the clip. Have you seen? Yes. Good. Now you can proceed to read about Vacation.

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I LOVE comedy this much |                                       |. On paper, it doesn’t seem as much, but let it be known that I was partially raised by The Simpsons and raunchy comedies, so you should now know that it means a lot a lot. National Lampoon’s Vacation or simply Vacation was a cornerstone for comedy because at one point the world loved Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo had the voice of an angel, and Lindsey Buckingham, guitarist for Fleetwood Mac, made “Holiday Road.” It wasn’t raunchy and the humor was dry, so I guess when the new Vacation sequel premiered its first trailer, I got belched-out laughs; I got some very hearty laughs too, but in the end, this film was only as good as any typical raunchy movie.

My excitement for this new Vacation never involved me paying top dollar for another typical raunchy comedy, even if it had the Vacation title in it. What made the original Vacation great was that the film built up great timing for simple jokes made clever. I remember the animal cruelty joke vividly, so vividly. Cynical, no? I love the joke, and since I had a perfectly made “sandwich,” this film was actually funnier then I expected–so when Rusty crashes into the cow and the steer eats the remains, I died of laughter. Unlike some people who’ve seen the film prior to my viewing, I wasn’t so disdainful of the cheaper jokes that came as predictable. Sure, predictability isn’t a great feature, but like most decent human beings, I enjoy the pain of others.

Not all of the jokes land. Shown in the trailer, Christina Applegate is back at her old sorority house in one of those jokes that wore thin, and it bred a recurring joke about quantity of sexual encounters that never went anywhere but the blood-splattered bathtub. The sandwich wasn’t as effective here either. Raunchy comedies is the son comedy bred but became dumb, and usually it’s once a year where that son comes to mommy and gives her a well-made film she can store in her library. This, unfortunately, would be that raunchy comedy that gets placed to the side with the DVDs that don’t belong in the trash.

I’ve heard complaints about Ed Helms trying too hard, but I personally thought that he tried hard to imitate Chevy Chase’s well-natured suburban dad. Not all of the Ed Helms jokes land; sad to say that most of them don’t, but he does get his moments. Kevin, the coolest character in the film, gave me the most laughs, and if anything I’m just biased cause I usually love a lot of characters named Kevin. We’ll exclude Kevin Khatchadourian from this list, amongst some other non-comedic or action based Kevins. Kevin is a little prick in the film, but he’s that typical obnoxious type we all love and care for.

Duo Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley don’t tread any new waters with this film, but with what’s given, the two have shown that they do have an eye for comedy, they just need to polish it a little more and probably avoid forcing cameos–like Charlie Day, who just seconds after being introduced is dumped by his fiancée and gets suicidal. Then there was no real solution. They get to Walley World, and that’s a movie. We all know they do, so I’m not spoiling it. Do me a favor, eat a “sandwich,” no matter how hearty it is, and enjoy what you can of this film. I know I did.

Kevin Montes is one sarcastically satirical dude. He’s usually at home watching hours of comedy and television, primarily Simpsons. Kevin aspires to be a TV writer, a joke writer, and composer for all things Harmony Korine. You can reach him on twitter @iamkevinmontes to further ask about all things Simpsons.