Although the Skywalker clan seems to be the only fictional onscreen family movie fans care about these days, another beloved cinematic family from a 30-plus-year-old film franchise returned to big screens everywhere in 2015 as well. And though Luke and Leia might seem like the only game in town this holiday season, to paraphrase Master Yoda, there is definitely another.
Luckily for fans of stupid comedy awesomeness, that “other” is the Griswold family from National Lampoon’s iconic Vacation films. Released to little fanfare and a social media tsunami of hate tweets from fans of the original film series earlier this summer, the woefully overlooked Vacation is definitely worth another look in-flight.
And with an estimated 25 million US passengers expected to hit the skies over the next few days for Thanksgiving and travelers’ nerves already on edge after recent terror attacks, I think a big old dose of totally inappropriate, rip-roaringly funny inflight comedy is just what the doctor ordered. Especially one with its family tree so firmly rooted in the very fertile soil of one of the greatest laugh-out-loud family comedies of all time, National Lampoon’s Vacation.
Written and directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein (the dynamic duo behind the hugely successful Horrible Bosses films) Vacation is not a reboot or a spin-off – as many critics and haters online wrongly proclaimed – but rather a sequel to the 1983 comedy classic starring Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo and John Candy. And if you ask me, this is the best Vacation film since 1989’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
Sweet, sly and often howlingly funny, Vacation is the story of a grown-up Rusty Griswold (played to comic perfection by Ed Helms) taking his family on a road trip vacation that bears an uncanny resemblance to the memorable one his father took him and his sister Audrey on back in the day. Co-starring Leslie Mann as an adult Audrey, Chris Hemsworth as her freakishly-endowed husband and the game-for-anything Christina Applegate, Vacation also features killer cameos from Chase, D’Angelo and the beloved avocado-green Wagon Queen Family Truckster from the original film.
And in keeping with Vacation movie tradition, the kids this time around – played by the lovably dorky Skyler Gisondo as James with Steele Stebbins as his foul-mouthed younger brother, Kevin – are just as funny as the adults. But the real star of this Vacation is the writing and directing.
Time and time again, the Griswolds find themselves in situations that are so unexpectedly hilarious that you won’t know whether to laugh or cheer at their sheer comic wizardry. Seriously, everything to do with Helm’s new family car and the much-buzzed-about scene with the family indulging in what they think is a mud bath just about killed me. Trust me, you won’t see a funnier film on an airplane this holiday season. In fact, a friend told me recently that she had to actually stop watching the film halfway through on a recent flight because she was laughing so hard that her seat mates thought she was having a seizure.
Yep, Vacation is that funny. Enjoy!
Now playing on select Delta, Alaska Airlines and Singapore Airlines flights worldwide, Vacation is also available via streaming at Amazon Instant Video, VUDU and iTunes.