5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Every kid's nightmare - a holiday with Clark,
This review is from: National Lampoon's Vacation [DVD]  (DVD)
I can only echo what other reviewers have said about this movie. Hotwire complains that it isn't in the same league as Hot Shots. Well, that's right, it's a totally different kind of movie. Hot Shots is built on the continual visual gags and movie piss-takes that have been apparent since Airplane, and include Top Secret, Naked Gun, Spy Hard, Dracula - Dead And Loving It, and a million and one other Zucker and Zucker movies. To compare this film with Hot Shots would be like comparing Psycho with Scream - they're both horrors but they aren't meant to be in any way similar.
This movie is one of the John Hughes feelgood films, and plays on the fact that Chevy Chase, as everyday hero Clark W Griswald, is what American and English kids find more embarrassing than just about anything else - the enthusiastic Dad. He's bought the station-wagon from Hell, he's got the holiday mapped out to the N'th degree with no room for deviation, he tries to get on with gangsters in Harlem as much as he does with Ellen's cousin's husband (who he obviously despises), he flirts with Christie Brinkley and ends up taking a midnight dip with her in a motel pool, and he kills Grandma's dog in the most hilarious way you could ever imagine. And Ellen, Rusty and Audrey back him up to the end. They might be irritated, annoyed, tired and angry. But if somebody takes a pop at Clark, they're right behind him all the way.
Slapstick humour, with John Hughes' usual touch of empathy (not apparent in European Vacation certainly), is the order of the day here. I love it. The only thing I would agree with Hotwire about - the actual Wally World section at the end isn't as good as it could have been. But until they get to Wally World - it's fantastic!