Christmas Vacation. A movie that several of my friends have recommended as being extremely funny. I’m afraid that I cannot quite say the same. Christmas Vacation is about a family trying to have a sensible Christmas with shenanigans getting in the way. There are bickering in-laws, bickering siblings, and even some prat falls that just may or may not fall short.
It opens differently than many comedies and other genres open, with a clever little cartoon about Santa. Santa is fighting to survive the trek through the Griswold’s house. The cartoon is so funny that it set the bar for the rest of the movie. A bar that it could not possibly reach. I felt like I was watching one of the old Disney animated shorts.
After the opening sequence that I would pay to see we have to bear witness to a drawn out road scene where the Griswolds are driving to pick up a tree. Clark goes all crazy because some drivers were being jackasses. It was unnecessarily dramatic. Seriously, there are bad drivers everywhere. No point in it. There is no humor in it either. Its just a man over reacting to the road.
The actor playing Clark (I refuse to use the names of the actors because this is such a bad movie) over acted everything. Every single moment is over acted to a painful extent. I wanted to take over the directing, but its too late. Every other actor did the same. There’s one thing when its just one actor, but its ridiculous when its everyone, except for the guys playing the next door neighbors, whom had absolutely nothing to do with the plot. There was no plot. The next door neighbors were lovable. I would have loved to have Margo and Todd live next door to me.
There were numerous unrealistic situations that would never really happen in real life and be funny. A sled going that fast down a hill mainly. I mean, come on! It was practically shooting rockets. Clark would have also broken several bones by the half hour mark. The lights would have come off the house because the staples would not have held Clark’s weight and neither would have the gutter.
The weight of the world must fall on the actress who played Audrey because they seemed to have told her to be constipated all the time. She even sounds constipated during the unnatural sounding argument she had with her mother. I wasn’t sure who sounded more fake: Ellen or Audrey.
Speaking of fake; the reveal of the house after Clark finishes putting up the lights takes far too long. It was as if they needed more length to he movie, because it would end up short. We spend ten minutes watching the guy give a speech and another ten with the drumroll. After he fails his family “consoles” him. It takes another twenty minutes and a lot of begging before they move onto the next scene. Seriously, I was begging. It would be one thing if the consoling was done with some sort of humor, but there was nothing. Even the “witty” side cracks fell short.
Now, I like prat falls as much as the next girl, but this movie was ridiculous. A prat fall, if done right, can seem better than something cold on a hot, muggy day. Charlie Chaplain was the master of prat falls, but no one studied him for this movie. I felt like the prat falls could have been done better. I mean, it was like having sex with a hot guy who doesn’t know what he’s doing: there’s a big, suspenseful build up, but it either falls short or it has unsatisfactory results.
Clark went up in the attic to hide Christmas presents and his mother-in-law closed the attic door. His attic door was in the ceiling, so you’d have to pull it down to do anything and push it up. Now, no mother would just close the attic door without yelling up to make sure no one is up there for sure. That’s just common sense. He also had enough time to yell out about being up in the attic. So he makes his way to the window and then near a chest. He just stands there and his feet goes through the ceiling. He could have used the hole that was created to get out of the attic and then fix it later. Also, if the attic floors are that weak, then clark should not be in the attic, walking on the floors. Then, common sense says not to sit on the closed attic door because someone might open the door.
When the lights are finally working we learn that they are all connected to one light switch in the garage. There is no way that would work, especially with all those weird plugs in one outlet without any kind of extension. And then the redneck part of the family comes in town and plays up the stereotypes that pains even the most stereotypical redneck. And then Clark doesn’t use the full range of sarcasm. I also doubt that Clark would steal anything from his job because it doesn’t fit with his personality. They are also guilty of cruelly making fun of elderly issues and diseases and why didn’t anyone check on the animals? You have to check on them to make sure they don’t get into anything.
Then, they drew out the bonus scene. It lasted much longer than it should have been. I don’t care about what you’ll do with the extra money. I don’t care. The cheer that went out over the family sounded incredibly fake and wrong. It doesn’t sound natural when he swears, using four letter words that didn’t come up before. There was minimum cursing in the beginning and then all of a sudden Clark drops an “F”-bomb. There were also several points where the neighbors would have called the cops because of Clark’s brother. Then, they killed the cat. Animal cruelty hurts me.
There is this entire scene where they are running away from a squirrel. A little squirrel. Just contact animal control or chase the little thing out the door. There was a simple way of doing it. It was over dramatic and then the police raided their house and their next door neighbor’s. Dramatic music pays and they drop in from the sky and break the windows. It was entirely unnecessary. There were too many characters, so I couldn’t make any personal connections. No emotional impact for the movie from me. Also, Clark did not recite Twas the Night Before Christmas. He read it. That annoys me more than anything.
Now, there were a few good things about the movie. The issues involving money was realistic and the prat falls of the neighbors were entertaining. It also had a good soundtrack for the most part. That was pretty much it. Those were the only good things in the entire movie.
Christmas Vacation was not worth the hour and a half of my life that I wasted watching this monstrosity.
I give Christmas Vacation 1 out of 5 stars.