It’s Christmas time and the Griswolds are preparing for a family seasonal celebration, but things never run smoothly for Clark, his wife Ellen and their two kids. Clark’s continual bad luck is worsened by his obnoxious family guests, but he manages to keep going knowing that his Christmas bonus is due soon.
User Reviews: I remember renting ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’ from a video store back in the late eighties and again in the early nineties (until I figured it was simply more convenient and cost effective to buy a VHS copy and watch it whenever I want). I was young at the time and clearly loved its slightly dumb, cheesy humour (plus I was a fan of the two previous ‘Vacation’ films, but you don’t actually have to have watched either of those to watch this one – you’ll just not be one of us who get confused at the repeated new casting of the kids, Audrey and Rusty). However, for some reason, the film didn’t survive my eventual binning of my tapes and buying everything again on DVD. Therefore, I was delighted when a popular online streaming service put it on their schedule in time for the festive season.
It was only now did I realise how much I must have watched it back when I was young, as I knew the script practically word for word. So, in short, I still loved it and was in nostalgia heaven. And I could almost leave the review there if it wasn’t for the fact that I was watching it now with my girlfriend who had never seen it before in her life. She hated it.
Therefore, I was sort of forced to re-evaluate it and, although I maintain my love for it, try to see what some people may find wrong with it. Yes, the jokes are dumb. It’s sort of like the ‘American Pie’ of its generation. It’s definitely not high-brown entertainment and you have to accept that you’re going to be watching a buffoon at work when it comes to the central character, played by Chevy Chase, Clark Griswold. I guess it could be said that some people may simply find him too annoying and stupid to root for.
I suppose a few of the gags do fall a little flat and just as many are predictable, but then by now most adults will have seen so many comedy films by now that they can see ‘old humour’ coming a mile off. There was actually more profanity in this than I remember, including one ‘F-bomb’ which does mean that the film may be more unsuitable for ‘all’ the family than I remember.
I suppose it’s quite tame and, because of its age, has a feeling of being done before. However, I still maintain that, overall, it’s stood the test of time reasonably well and should still pick up a few new fans here and there (especially in terms of good/funny Christmas movies). You’ll definitely get more out of it if, like me, you have nostalgia on your side, but even my girlfriend had to admit that Randy Quaid was a joy to watch. Although, she still maintained that the (seldom-used) neighbours got all of the best gags!