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Christmas Vacation (Movie Review)
Report to Moderator Old 06-09-2011 09:25 PM
MMC Editor
 
Views: 67,665
Replies: 2
By Jeff Westover

John Hughes was on quite a roll in the late 1980s. From Ferris Buehler's Day Off to The Breakfast Club, Hughes took his magic pen to the National Lampoon franchise about a year before he launched Home Alone into holiday movie lore.

As with all of the Vacation movies, there is not much here to take seriously. And if you take it in that light, Christmas Vacation is a great break if you need a laugh as a relief from holiday stress.

Chevy Chase returns as Clark Griswold, a well-meaning-but-bumbling family man this time in search of the perfect family Christmas. Beverly D'Angelo again plays the infinitely patient wife and Randy Quaid returns in the classic role of Cousin Eddie. As with nearly all the Vacation films, Christmas Vacation relies less on plot and more on sight gags to make its points.

Clark, for example, out on a ladder hanging Christmas lights. From untangling the absurd wad of lights to smothering the roof with lights only to have them fail once plugged in is an experience with which we can all relate. But to see Chevy Chase continue to do his masterful Gerald Ford routine in the process is a delightful bonus sure to draw holiday chuckles.

The premise of the movie revolves around Clark's desire to have an old fashioned family Christmas centered around the receipt of his annual Christmas bonus which would allow him to build a pool. As with all things with Clark Griswold, nothing goes to plan. The bonus doesn't come, the tree goes up in flames, the turkey is a disaster and Cousin Eddie shows up unexpectedly. As Ellen explains to her daughter, "It's Christmas and we're all in misery."

I went expecting this to be more juvenile in nature. And don't get me wrong, it is pretty immature in parts, as expected. But there is a lot more subtle humor here thanks to Hughes' smart script. The frank observation of the Griswold children about the visiting grandparents and their quirks again hit the mark in way in which we can relate. The profound anger and Clark Griswold obligatory tirade over not receiving the bonus is one that not only draws laughs but sympathetic sighs from the audience. We've all been there. And while we didn't have the inspiration to articulate profanity so expertly we've all shared those same thoughts of our cheap employers.

But none of it is to be taken seriously. There is no Christmas magic in this movie. They play it for laughs and that is exactly what you get. Unlike How the Grinch Stole Christmas in 2000 there is no sacred ground being overturned. The story stays conspicuously away from the spiritual aspects of the season and never tries to preach a forced ideal. The Griswolds and all in their world are pretty shallow folks. We know it from the beginning and find ourselves appreciating them at the end because they never tried to be anything than what they really are.

Rated PG-13 for language and gratuitous cleavage (that ever-fantasizing Clark), Christmas Vacation earns a spot on our shelf for year-after-year holiday viewing for adults only.
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Replies to Article: Christmas Vacation (Movie Review)
  #1   Report Post  
Old 07-11-2011, 07:14 AM
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JanaBanana JanaBanana is offline
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Re: Christmas Vacation (Movie Review)

My favorite! Love this movie
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Old 07-16-2011, 12:03 AM
carmenpaigee carmenpaigee is offline
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Re: Christmas Vacation (Movie Review)

Love it, watched it just the other day. It never gets old!

 
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