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14 years ago , national lampoon introduced us to a new family - the griswolds .
in 1983 , the griswolds embarked on a cross-country journey with the destination of wally world , a world-renowned theme park in california .
we laughed our heads off as we shared the wild and crazy mishaps the family endured .
two years later , we watched again as they went to europe , and four years after that , we shared christmas with them .
now , eight more years have passed , and the laughs have done more than die .
they've been cremated .
vegas vacation brings back chevy chase as clark griswold , the good intentioned but ill-fated father of two .
the premise is basically the same .
clark has a wonderful idea to take his family on a bonding vacation , this time to las vegas .
his wife ellen ( beverly d'angelo ) and teenage kids rusty and audrey ( always played by different actors - this time around , by ethan embry and marisol nichols , respectively ) join him and they soon find themselves in sin city where casinos will make the backdrop for ninety minutes of slapstick .
of course a " vacation " movie wouldn't be complete without good ole eddie ( reprised by randy quaid ) , the misfit cousin , showing up at all the wrong times .
there isn't too much of a plot here when it comes right down to it .
it's really just a skit movie .
there are a couple of ways to define a skit movie , which is not a real term as far as i know .
the first would be a movie that basically has one running gag for two hours , therefore coming off like a two hour skit .
the second would be a movie that seems comprised of about twenty shorter skits , each lasting about five minutes .
vegas vacation comes off like the first .
a good example of the latter would be last year's black sheep .
the problem with this format is that it becomes old fast , and it doesn't really fit into a movie mold .
in these cases , a " plot " , which is generally very thin , is used either as a shameless filler between scenes or to simply add convenience to the gags ( i . e .
have a good vegas joke , make a vegas movie ) .
such is the case with this movie's mini-plots .
clark gets gambling fever and begins spending all of the griswold's money , ellen is on the verge of an affair with wayne newton ( ! ) , rusty has a fake id and is using it to his gambling advantage , and audrey is desperate for fun and winds up joining her cousin vickie ( shae d'lyn ) as an exotic dancer .
the simple fact is : this movie isn't funny .
at first , i did find myself chuckling heartily at a couple of little jokes , but when the movie got rolling , my interest suddenly stopped .
chase plays clark griswold really well .
he made the character and he is the character .
d'angelo , to be quite honest , never was too impressive as ellen , and this movie doesn't show any signs of redemption .
as for the two new griswold kids , the word " blah " comes to mind .
the " vacation " series seems out to prove that anybody can play these two characters , the simple reason being that there is nothing to them .
they're so generic , you'll expect the credits to read " girl #1 as audrey griswold " .
vegas vacation differs from the first three in the series by more than just laugh factor .
yes , it's true that vegas vacation isn't even close to being close to being as funny as the others , which were actually pretty fun in their own doofy ways , but there are a couple of other things that set this one negatively apart .
first off , why did they leave off the national lampoon's heading on the title ?
i couldn't find any reasons why , but maybe the fact is even national lampoon didn't want to be associated with such a lame film .
that's saying a lot , especially when you look at what else the company has proudly presented : loaded weapon 1 , pcu , etc . if they expected this to be another hit , you would assume they'd be proud to tack on the notorious header , but for reasons only we can guess at , like the movie sucking , they didn't .
there is another difference here that makes an obvious impact .
the first three films in the " vacation " series were written by john hughes , a talented writer who is behind several popular films of the 80's including mr .
mom , sixteen candles , the breakfast club , weird science , pretty in pink , ferris bueller's day off , planes , trains , and automobiles , and uncle buck .
wowzers !
what a r ? sum ? !
looking at the names , you'd think this guy wrote everything that now stands as a movie icon for the 1980's .
well that's not all .
this guy also brought us 90's hits including the home alone series , the remake of 101 dalmatians , dennis the menace , and the current flubber .
vegas vacation , however , didn't have john hughes behind it , and the loss is very obvious .
this time around , the script is in the hands of elisa bell , whose only credits thus far include four made-for-tv movies .
vegas vacation plays very much like one , and it would actually work much better as a made-for-tv sequel .
if this sounds like a wild idea , it's not .
revenge of the nerds third and fourth installments were both television movies , and they seemed like it .
vegas vacation would fit in well on the fox network as a 2 : 00 a . m .
sunday morning movie , but as a silver screen major motion picture , it's quite out of place .
stephen kessler's jejune direction doesn't help things either .
he only makes the film even more tv-movie-ish .
each consecutive " vacation " movie has suffered a drop in directing power .
we started the series off with harold ramis , who also directed caddyshack and groundhog day as well as co-writing ghostbusters .
not too bad .
then we had national lampoon's european vacation being directed by amy heckerling , who would go on to direct the hits look who's talking and clueless , as well as having already directed the infamous fast times at ridgemont high .
lastly we had national lampoon's christmas vacation , directed by jeremiah s . chechik , who went on to direct the charming benny & joon .
kessler , so far , has one title under his belt , the short film birch street gym , which received an oscar nomination in 1992 .
granted that this was his first attempt at a feature length film , we can allow for some amateurish quality , but instead we get a movie straight from the text book - boring , bland , and deeply unoriginal .
if you loved the " vacation " movies , and i know * some * of us did , there still isn't anything here worth seeing .
if you loved them , don't ruin your good impressions of the series by indulging in this tragic example of cinema ala carte .
if you never did like the series , why the need to confirm why ?
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