The Griswold family are on a quest. A quest to a Walley World theme park for a family vacation, but things aren't going to go exactly as planned, especially when Clark Griswold is losing all thought towards a mysterious blonde in a red Ferrari.Written by
The Star Ford car dealership in Glendale, California, the location scene where Clark purchases the Wagon Queen Family Truckster, is located two blocks north of Chevy Chase Drive. See more »
Just after Clark nearly collides head on with the truck, a red truck can be seen following the Griswald's car. The red truck's distance behind the Griswald's car changes inconsistently between shots. See more »
Why aren't we flying? Because getting there is half the fun. You know that.
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During the credits, you see snapshots of group photos of where and who the Griswalds met on the vacation. The last photo shows you how they got home, on a plane. See more »
In recent years in AMC and Sundance Channel airings the scene when Audrey and Rusty argue the word "retard" is omitted or muted out. See more »
"Getting there is half the fun", says bland family man Clark, head of the bland suburban family, the Griswolds. He's rationalizing why the family will drive from Illinois, instead of fly, to Wally World, a moose-centered family amusement park in California. What makes this film enjoyable is that the Griswolds are so typical of banal American suburban family values.
Clark (Chevy Chase) is a good-natured sap, gullibly idealistic, and conforming. His meek wife (well played by Beverly D'Angelo) looks up to Clark. Their two teenage kids are dull blockheads, patterned after their dull parents. The boy wears ugly dental braces.
Their mode of travel is a prehistoric, humorously ugly, putrid green station wagon with cheesy brown panels. The Griswolds blast off with unlimited optimism and good-natured anticipation of the fun they will have at Wally World. But the optimism gradually fades and is replaced by grim determination after a series of on-the-road disasters that make a mockery of idealism.
The film's humor lies in its absurd plot situations, and in the dialogue. At a cookout, a down-on-his-luck Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) treats the Griswolds to backyard burgers, then remarks to Clark: "I don't know why they call this stuff hamburger helper. It does just fine by itself".
Casting is appropriate. Overall acting trends humorously exaggerated, consistent with the satire. Performances by Imogene Coca and John Candy add to the comedy. The bouncy song "Holiday Road" opens the film with a series of vintage American postcards in tandem with the opening credits.
My only reservation is that some of the plot contrivances are a bit over-the-top. The writers seem to be trying a little too hard.
"Vacation" is a satire on the banality of the traditional American summer ritual, and therefore thematically rich. Production values are fine. Though not perfect, this film is worth watching.
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