'Vacation' [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD]
(Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Leslie Mann, Beverly D'Angelo, Skyler Gisondo, et al / Blu-ray+DVD / R / 2015 / Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
Overview: The next generation of Griswolds is at is again – and on the road for another ill-fated adventure. Following in his father's footsteps, a grown-up Rusty Griswold (Helms) surprises his wife, Debbie (Applegate), and their sons with a cross-country road trip back to America's "favorite family fun park," Walley World.
Blu-ray Verdict: OK, right from the off, this movie was "specially linked" to the original, because this new 2015 version had the exact same release date as the original National Lampoon's Vacation ie: July 29th, 1983! How special was that! Also, continuing this wonderful trivia ride, the only people to appear in every Vacation movie are Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo - except for Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure (2003). Randy Quaid would most likely have done, but (as you all might well know, as fans of the films, "Cousin Eddie" was actually under real life house arrest involving a house payment dispute!
Anyway, onto the new version and, in complete truth (from a long time fan, and the person who sat alongside me, younger, and a newbie to the whole series), 'Vacation' is actually a sequel to National Lampoon's Vacation series and should not be considered a reboot. In fact, this actually makes a pretty worthy fourth installment in the series, as it's better than Vegas Vacation and anything that came after it!
Ed Helms and Christina Applegate are great leads and work really well together. It has some well-earned laugh-out-loud moments but what shines through what should have been a complete failure is the way in which Ed Helms plays Rusty Griswold.
It's far from a great film, sure, but it does a good job of mixing the old 80's absurd slapstick comedy and the modern adult shock humor, creating a unique mix that somehow stays grounded. It never succumbs to the cartoon antics of 'Dumb and Dumber,' for arguments sake and yet, and thankfully, it doesn't take itself so serious that the drama overshadows the comedy either.
Ergo, 'Vacation' is not so much that we are getting jokes we've never seen before, what we are getting is genuine characters reacting to ridiculous situations in a very human way. And sure, OK, it's dirty, vulgar, raunchy and completely inappropriate, which is exactly what we need comedy to be right now!
In closing, 'Vacation' is also surprisingly heart-warming at it's core. In a time when comedies are struggling to stay irrelevant and as politically incorrect as possible, an R-rated family vacation movie is refreshing even if it's far from original. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
- Return to WalleyWorld
- The Griswold Odyssey
- Gag Reel
- Deleted Scenes
Own 'Vacation' on Blu-ray Combo Pack or DVD on November 3rd or Own It Early on Digital HD on October 13th!