Critic Reviews

47

Metascore

Based on 10 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
63
Too many scenes in European Vacation peter out about a gag or two short for the film to be as funny as it ought to be. But the basic amiability of the humor is as pleasant as it is surprising.
60
While it's very much a retread, it succeeds in following up the first film's humor with more in a similar vein.
60
The London scenes are enjoyable – the ‘look kids... Big Ben... Parliament’ roundabout routine should be a staple of every family trip to the capital – but overall, it’s not quite funny or memorable enough.
60
Director Amy Heckerling is gentler than Harold Ramis was, and the result is a slightly more cohesive picture that is far less mean-spirited. Lighthearted fun, pretty scenery, lots of chuckles, a few guffaws, and a lilting score by Charles Fox all contribute to making this movie a pleasant surprise.
50
Story [by John Hughes] of a frenetic, chaotic tour of the Old World, with Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo reprising their roles as determined vacationers, is graceless and only intermittently lit up by lunacy and satire.
50
Miami Herald
Chase and D'Angelo are clever and naturally funny, and they're well-matched. And yet the movie is dumb, so dumb it must have taken some work to make it that way. Perhaps next the Griswalds should make a forced march through a Hollywood executive's brain. [27 July 1985, p.B3]
50
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
National Lampoon's European Vacation is directed by Amy Heckerling, whose career began with the spunky if not inventive Fast Times at Ridgemont High and continued with the inventive if not spunky Johnny Dangerously; this time, she's responsible for a picture that's neither inventive nor spunky. [29 July 1985]
40
Heckerling directs this mess with no sense of pace and less sense of where to put the camera. There are pixilated, MTV-style sequences that simply slow up the story, car chases and car crashes, and, of course, aerobicizers boinging out of their leotards. The best thing in the movie is the catchy theme from the last Vacation, which, unfortunately, hasn't the slightest thing to do with Europe.
40
There was bite and outrageousness and a touch of the surreal to the excesses of National Lampoon's Vacation (in which Chevy Chase and Harold Ramis humanized Hughes' cartoonlike material). This was writing whose springboard might have been awful firsthand experience. European Vacation feels as though it were dreamed up to cover the rent on the beach house for the summer.
40
Newsweek
Director Amy Heckerling cripples half her jokes by telegraphing the punch lines: a sight gag at the top of the Eiffel Tower involving a tossed hat and a little dog would be a lot funnier if we hadn't seen it coming. Some of the jokes seem 25 years out of date: one hardly has to go all the way to France these days, much less cross a state line, to encounter a racy topless bar. [12 Aug 1985, p.71]

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