If you lived through the 1980s, you know it.
If you sat through the 2000s, you know it.
That wink-wink through lasviousness and lewdness paired with physical awkwardnes that made the National Lampoon’s … movies featuring Chevy Chase as patriarch Clark Griswold so darn popular in that first decade.
That silly-man, try-too-hard demeanor that made Ed Helms’ Andy a fixture to stare at during this century’s TV sitcom dominatiojn by The Office.
Put Helms in the role of Rusty Griswold all grown up with two sons of his own in the comedy Vacation with Chase and Beverly D’Angelo reprising their roles as his mother and father toward the end, yet, and you’ve got … exactly what you’d expect.
Only even a little more lewd, more smutty and more awkward, if you could even imagine that.
Little Rusty — you may remember him played by Anthony Michael Hall in the original Vacation — has grown up (possibly, aged, anyhow) to become a pilot for a regional airline based in Chicago. In this story written by Jonathan M. Goldstein and John Francis Dailey and directed by Dailey, we find him trying to please his stagnated marriage to wife pretty wife Debbie (who grew up to this from a smartass kid in her own right from TV’s Married with Children, don’t forget) by planning a cross-country family drive in a little unheard-of model foreign car to that familiar-from-the-first-film big daddy of amusement parks, WalleyWorld.
Along the way, youngest son Kevin thrills in bullying older brother James. Steele Stebbins and Skyler Gisondo are both hateable and likeable as the two suffering young Griswolds. The car is as misfit as Clark’s logic, and stops in Little Rock for a dip in a hot spring and Texas for a visit to little sister Audrey (hilarious Leslie Mann) and her studly weather man/rancher husband Storm (Chris Hemsworth) go horribly and terribly wrong.
The film is rated R, justifiably so with raw sex talk and sight gags and bloody stuff with a bull, but still in the almost full Saturday matinee Regal Cinemas showing in the Syracuse mega shopping, dining and entertainment complex Detiny USA, I spotted young teens in the crowd with their parents and wondered about that.
And I did laugh, for sure a tad uncomfortably sometimes and even with some disbelief. But yes, other times the sound rose from me because what I was seeing up there was just plain funny.
This generation’s Vacation won’t be winning any awards for its intellect. But if you know what to expect and still line up for the trip, have fun.
Were you a fan of the first batch of Chevy Chase National Lampoon movies, and why or why not? Are you a fan of Ed Helms, and why or why not? Are you ready to see Rusty and Clark Griswold again in this generation, and why or why not?