Vegas Vacation (1997)
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"Vegas Vacation" sits comfortably as the third most enjoyable film in the series; surpassing "European Vacation" but not as enjoyable as "Vacation" or "Christmas Vacation". It's pretty far reaching at times but there are solid moments here; such as Clark damn near destroying a damn and getting crazy (as only Clark Griswold can) playing cards and losing everything.
The Wayne Newton gag soon grows tiresome and everything concerning Audrey and Russ pretty much stinks but Randy Quaid delivers once again as obnoxious Cousin Eddie and Chase hasn't lost his touch as the world's most annoying (yet somehow oddly endearing) family dad.
This isn't as good as the first--sequels rarely are. There isn't as much humor potential as in "Christmas Vacation", either. But for god sakes, people, this is MUCH better than the "European Vacation" movie, which has misfire gags left and right (you can check out my review on THAT by clicking on "mdnrules").
Vegas Vacation has as much "Cousin Eddie" humor as in the Christmas Vacation movie which seems to make up for the "diaster" humor Vegas is lacking. This movie seems to have the happiest ending of all of them.
Based on many opinions, here is the order of the Vacations, starting with the best and ending with the worst:
1. a tie between "Vacation" and "Christmas Vacation" 2. Vegas Vacation being a fair third, and 3. European Vacation being a very distant fourth.
Hope this helps, all.
In 1989, audiences were introduced to `Christmas Vacation,' which turned out to be more than a pleasant surprise. Then, in 1997, almost a decade later, another `Vacation' film churned out. The fourth in the series.
Clark Griswold has finally gotten his break. His food preservatives have been approved, and he has gotten a bonus. Now, what to do with the money? He has an idea. Take the wife and kids to.(big surprise) Vegas! But soon after the ordeal of arriving in Vegas is over, Clark finds himself wasting away his money gambling; especially playing craps! Now, with the help of Uncle> Eddie, he must regain his money, and regain his wife from the grasp of Wayne Newton!
Chevy Chase returns to the role of Clark Griswold, he gets these crazy notions and perfect ideas built up in his head, and as we have learned in the other films, they always disintegrate one at a time until he blows his top.
Beverly D'Angelo returns to the character of Ellen Griswold, she pulls off the housewife/mother role quite believably; she is not nearly as bad as anyone would expect. Many people say she was in the first movie just to flash the screen a few times, but that's just from the mouths of people who dislike the movies; I think her role is important, and D'Angelo carries it well. The only other person I can think of that fits the Ellen character is Goldie Hawn, but that's probably because she acts a bit like D'Angelo so it is easier to imagine her as Ellen.
The kids in this `Vacation' film are (finally!) older; Rusty is on the verge of manhood, and Audrey has matured as well. The things they get themselves into during the film are quite funny. Audrey becomes a Vegas dancer, and Rusty becomes a rich tycoon with the help from some `friends.' We splice back and forth to their predicaments during the film.
One hilarious segment includes a bit where the Griswold family visits Uncle Eddie (a returning Randy Quaid) out in the middle of nowhere; he says that he got his land for free from the government because it used to be a nuclear test site (`I got tomatoes growing this big!'). Uncle Eddie is more disgusting than ever; he lives in a small trailer with about forty-something kids, all of which have strange deformations.
In `Vegas Vacation,' Randy Quaid has the longest screen time that Eddie's ever had before, and I think this is a good thing. Perhaps some people thought it went a bit over the top with Eddie, but I say, `The more Eddie, the better!'
Wallace Shawn makes a rather long cameo as the craps dealer; Clark has a vengeance built up against Shawn's character. He MUST beat him. However, Clark always loses and that is how he loses all his money.
Wayne Newton takes a rather big role as well. He pretends to be in love with Ellen Griswold (`It's a lock of my hair.') in the film; he tries to steal her from Clark, who forgets to pay attention to his wife while he blows his money away like it's just paper and nothing more.
John Hughes, writer of `Vacation' and `Christmas Vacation,' did NOT return to the keyboard for this one; someone else wrote it. I think, however, that the writer of `Vegas Vacation' wrote the script well; the jokes are plentiful and enjoyable. It's nowhere near as bad as some comedy sequels get (i.e. `Police Academy' sequels).
Many people really hated `Vegas Vacation,' saying that is was just not funny. But no one can tell me they didn't laugh - or even chuckle - at this film. I understand that it is not as good as the first film, but to tell you the truth, I used to have a hard time choosing a favorite - the three films (`Vegas,' `Christmas,' and the original - NOT counting the `European' sequel) are so different and funny that it really is hard to choose. However, `Vegas' is more familiar to the first film than the sequel(s), and it's a bit easier to compare. When I look closely at them, I decide (a) the first film was a first, and no one had ever experienced Clark Griswold before; (b) the jokes are a bit better and (c) the cast was a bit younger back then and could go for more physical gags. In the new film, Clark swings over the Hoover Dam, and it looks like Chevy really strained himself doing some of the physical stuff (even if it means dangling over a green screen).
All in all, I feel that `Vegas Vacation' is a very underrated comedy. I really, really enjoyed it, and had a fun time watching it. It's always nice to take another visit to the Griswold family, and I'm up for another sequel (perhaps John Hughes should write the next one?).
3.5/5 stars -
It's hard to find a good third movie in the series , much less forth. It's also a risk to make a sequel to an 80's movie . Many of the sequels to 80's movies fails , because they aren't able to capture that specific 80's magic of the original ("Another 48 hours" , "Beverly Hills cop 3", "Blues brothers 2000" for example). Griswalds didn't really needed another sequel , since the third one was really good . So who needed it ? Chevy Chase . After the 1989 he wasn't able to make a successful movie and this was his last attempt to become a major star once more .
In the end it's a movie that should have been made as straight to video flick . It is so bad , that it's worse than "European vacation" . At least I had few laughs with that bad movie , with this one I had none.
"Vegas" lacks freshness . The writers tried to keep "Vegas vacation" in style of previous movies , but failed terribly. None of the usual Griswald charm is here . The jokes fell incredibly forced and don't work. Only SOME of the jokes with cousin Eddie APPROACH being funny (which doesn't mean they are , mind you). The franchise had simple , but funny , slightly raunchy sense of humor . This one is boring and bland like most of US sitcoms. It feels more like a commercial for Las Vegas than a comedy.
The old cast is back Chevy Chase , Beverly D'Angelo and Randy Quaid. The kids has been recast again . Ethan Embry plays Rusty and Marisol Nichols plays Audrey. I have to say they are my least favorite couple from the whole series. They give very flat performances.
National Lampoon took their name off the title of this film. It's hard not to understand why. Surprisingly, "Vegas Vacation" was fairly successful at the box office, taking in almost $40 million (the budget mus have been low for this movie) Which meant there was yet another chapter in the saga, the even worse than this "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2- Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure". Oh , boy...
My advice ? Stick to the first and third one , avoid the rest. I give it 1/10.
The film is truly a follow-up to "Christmas Vacation" as Clark finally got his big bonus from his marketing business after his newly invented cereal bars are a success and decides to use his money to his advantage and brings his wife and kids with him where they'll go on a frenzy gambling and living the life on Easy Street. During their stay, the Griswalds venture on their own to see what fortune comes their way. Such scenes involves legendary crooner Wayne Newton trying to get it on with Ellen (Beverly D'Angelo). Clark and the kids have their moments as well.
Sure the Griswald family follow the same path as the other three installments, but that's because of their inept ways of life, they have managed to make us laugh. We all come to see them struggle, fail and try to move up only to still remain left behind, but we love them for that and that is what keeps their fans from coming into theatres for. We were all shocked to see Clark as he dangles off Hoover Dam and crashing through Wayne Newton's house with the van.
The movie is very rich because the film is unpredictable. You think that they slowed the tempo down in "Christmas Vacation", but think again, the falls, the slapstick humour is still effective as we await for every gag to takes its shape and every way for the Griswalds to bend it. The laughs continue and never gets bored the first time seeing it at least, but after multiple viewing it loses its flavour like chewing gum.
Clark and the gang had their moments of laugh-till-your-stomach- bursts moments, however, the funniest scenes will involve the funniest supporting player to the Griswold clan. I'm talking about Randy Quaid's Cousin Eddie. From the first and third installments (he wasn't in "European Vacation"), he was always a dynamic character and the reason why is that even though he's dumber than rocks, his heart is in the right place and looks out for Clark even in the the most dire situations. But his redneck ways and caring charm puts a light touch to someone's heart.
This film isn't without its weaknesses. For one thing if you seen the other three Griswald adventures you seen them all. The madcap over- the-top slapstick humour has been done many times before and many times better. Even the dialogue and the facial expressions have all been executed in the very same pattern. But hey, what do I expect this film was going to be, a life-changing drama? Hell, no this is "National Lampoon" baby, so the film should be about overdosing in slapstick comedy so why spoil a good thing.
Another fault is why was Wayne Newton playing a pivotal part in the film. Sure he's a respective singer and I would have been okay if he played a cameo role in the film. But as a supporting character, he was just plain awful. He was just playing himself, a sleazy Vegas singer who had the hots for Ellen.
Usually in the other three films I laughed with the family, but in "Vegas Vacation", I couldn't help but feel sorry for them, especially from the kids (who looked too old to play the parts of Audrey and Rusty). The lack of chemistry is missing in this film because the kids and the parents seem to go their own separate ways. I thought it angered me that Clark kept forgetting his daughter's name most of the time (making her feel like the black sheep of the family a la Meg Griffin from "Family Guy"). I also felt that there was a lot of parental negligence as the kids Audrey and Rusty found themselves in dangerous predicaments. It was also very angering that Clark spent over $23,000 of his bonus money on gambling when he should have done as he promised in "Christmas Vacation" was to install a swimming pool. It made me think where's social services when you need them feeling I got. Surely a family could not have been this dysfunctional. But though it all it still succeeds in providing you with non-stop gags and having you laughing the whole way through.
Overall this movie is by far a terrible movie. The laughs are plentiful and you'll surely have a good time and Randy Quaid was wonderful as Cousin Eddie. I would recommend it as a comedy and really nothing more than that.