The reboot. It’s risky trying to compete with a classic comedy film. At best you can come close to the original with a contemporary version and at worst you can go down in flames and ruin whatever was special about the first movie and kill off interest for any future films. Vacation 2015 is somewhere in the middle. For reference, I feel like the 2013 movie We’re the Millers is a better comedy film about a family on a road trip. I like Ed Helms but I couldn’t help but think how much better Jason Sudeikis would have been as Rusty Griswold.The opening sequence consists of a series of family vacation photos with a funny reveal to each of them. That start had me thinking we may be on to something here! It was funny and well put together. What follows never quite reaches the quality of those laughs. Rusty Griswold is all grown up with his own family and works as a pilot on a budget airline. He is a lovable loser type just like his father Clark, oblivious to his stupidity and weakness, but in a charming way. Ed Helms does a decent job filling the gigantic shoes of Chevy Chase. It’s not better or equal, but different and funny at times. Christina Applegate is a good choice for the new Mrs. Griswold and the two of them are going through marital issues throughout the film, and they get just a touch too serious. This is supposed to be a fun experience! This is for sure raunchy and missing the delicate handling of Rated R type scenes those 80’s movies relished in.
The biggest thing missing was the heart of the original and the excellent other film in the franchise, Christmas Vacation.(Europe and Vegas vacations were not classics) Even when Clark messed up or acted insane it always came back to being about family in a kind of normal way. Meaning he would save the day and the wife and kids would do something to create a sweet family moment. That was the yin and yang of what was awesome about Vacation. There were hilarious out of place silly scenes mixed with the realistic feeling of family trips and holiday experiences we could relate to.
Chris Hemsworth as the manly brother in law was fantastic and very funny. Some of the biggest laughs in the movie come at the ridiculousness of his character. It was sad to see Chevy and Beverly during their brief cameo. It might have been better if they had been a bigger part of the film. Their appearance is awkward and a little forced.
Bottom Line: The original Vacation and Christmas Vacation are two of my all time favorite films, don’t expect that type of experience. You will have a decent time and there will be a few laughs, but manage your expectations. It’s an average comedy film about a family going on a cross country road trip, nothing more.