Directed By: Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley

Written By: Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley

Starring: Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Leslie Mann, Chris Hemsworth, Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo

Sullywood Rating: 7/10

Don’t you love it when you go into a movie with moderate to low expectations and get proven wrong?  Thats exactly what happened today when I decided to go on vacation with the new and improved Griswolds!

There is a nice little joke in the beginning of the film where Rusty is pleading with his family that this Wally World vacation is not a copy of the one he took growing up, and that this “vacation” would stand alone, obviously cracking a joke at this film itself.  He couldn’t be more right.  Now, whether that’s a good or bad thing, I suppose that’s for the audience to judge.  From things I’ve read it seems like a lot of people wanted more nostalgia to the original series.  But I ask, why?  What did you want?  Did you want a past his prime Chevy Chase dragging along, or an extra reference to Aunt Edna?

I could see why someone would want all that.  Heck, I myself was hoping for the same.  But truth is, this film didn’t really need too many nods to the old series.  This particular installment stood alone, was creative, original, and pretty freaking funny.  There wasn’t a dull moment in the movie, and there wasn’t as much stupid physical humor as the trailers for this film depicted.  Please understand, Ed Helms is not being thrown from vehicles every 10 seconds like the stupid trailers continually showed throughout the marketing of this film.  Where this film is really strong is the comedic timing and dialogue delivery.  Vacation really did have some of the most clever and original dialogue.

In fact, this movie should be labeled a “bait and switch” comedy.  Which means, you as the audience expected the joke to go one way, and it went another, and dammit was it awesome.

Now, the more serious tone of the film, which is that Rusty’s marriage might be in jeopardy a little more than he realizes.  This was, in my opinion, a huuuuuuge stretch.  His wife, played by Christina Applegate, is caught reading marriage self help books, I mean good lord.  You take some dull vacations and your marriage is ruined?  They were in no way miserable or anything really close to a bad marriage from what we the audience saw.

I would say the biggest gripe I had was that some of the cameos were really under utilized.  I love Leslie Mann, but boy was she useless and wasted in her scenes.  There is a joke where her husband, played by Chris Hemsworth, jokingly refuses to let her work, because he can, so why would she?  Looking back now, its sort of ironic, because all of the hilarious dialogue and scenes with Chris and Leslie were dominated by Chris.  Also, the mad truck driver reveal kind of fell flat for me.  Pretty large build up, and the cameo we get just sort of seems meh.  I really like the actor and what he does, but not sure he was the right choice.  Now, I will say the Charlie Day appearance was gut wrenchingly funny.

Overall, this movie went out to achieve originality and make its own name for itself, and I say mission accomplished.  The sons were hilarious in their own ways, and their even is a shout-out to Seal!  If you have the chance, please see this over Trainwreck.

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