Nicholas has every reason to keep things in life unchanged; however, when he accidentally overhears mum and dad talking about a new baby brother, his world will turn upside down. Will they abandon him to make room for the little stranger?
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A ten-year-old scientist secretly leaves his family's ranch in Montana where he lives with his cowboy father and scientist mother, escapes home, and travels across the country aboard a freight train to receive an award at the Smithsonian Institute.
Helena Bonham Carter,
Callum Keith Rennie
It's the end of the school year. The long-awaited moment of summer vacation has arrived. Little Nicolas, his parents, and Grandma head to Hotel Beau-Rivage by the seaside. On the beach, Nicolas quickly makes a new set of friends: there's Blaise, who isn't on vacation because he lives in the area, Fructueux, who likes everything, even fish, Djodjo, who doesn't speak like them because he's English, Crépin, who cries all the time, and Côme, who always wants to be right and who is very annoying. But Nicolas also gets to know Isabelle, a little girl who always looks at him with big, round and worried eyes, and who Nicolas believes his parents want to force him to marry. Misunderstandings accumulate, blunders begin. One thing's for sure: for everyone, this will be an unforgettable vacation.
In the subtitles of the broadcast on SBS Television (Australia), Marie-Edwige's name is given as 'Mary-Jane'. This reflects the English version of the books, where all the children bar Nicolas and Rufus have Anglicised names. See more »
The Hotel holds a masked ball, 'Le grand Bal masqué', but none of the guests is wearing a mask. It is a costume ball rather than a masked ball. See more »
Credits at the start and finish of the film appear on holiday postcards. The credits at the beginning also include some animations on the cards. See more »
The original Nicolas film, still directed by Laurent Tirard, was cute and funny. Its humour relied upon genuine written material forming consistent scenes and situations, and often based on the child's point-of-view, as in René Goscinny's exquisite little stories. "Les Vacances" relies a lot on nods and references to past cinema, and the rest is either disjointed (loose ends - what happens in the end with the tight spot at the nude beach Nicolas' father gets himself into?...) or simply unlikely. Even though the excellent Valérie Lemercier and Kad Merad still play Nicolas' parents, the actors in general, save for Bouli Lanners as Bernique, are insincere in their delivery and reactions and/or poorly directed. The father is supposed to be heartbroken by his wife extending her stay without him at the crazy big-money party, yet his face remains almost expressionless all the while...
Also, one scene suggests that hurting severely a live animal can be perceived as humorous, which I have found particularly tasteless.
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