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1997, Dir. Stephen Kessler
93 min. Rated PG.
Starring: Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Randy Quaid, Ethan Embry.

Review by Chad J. Shonk

Okay, it's not a great movie. Okay, it's actually shit. It ain't CITIZEN KANE. It ain't ANNIE HALL. It ain't even THE GOONIES (see earlier articles on SUPERMAN and INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM or Noel Wood's upcoming essay "Richard Donner is a Fucking Pussy").

With a movie like this (as with all Chevy Chase movies) it's infinitely less difficult to assess the good things about the film, creating a damn short list:

1. VEGAS VACATION does feature the best-looking Audrey Griswold to date. Unless, of course, you're a big Juliette Lewis fan. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Or unless you've seen the actress who played the first Audrey all grown up on "Beverly Hills 90210". Yikes.)

2. The return of Randy Quaid as Ellen's cousin Eddie. Okay, so it's a park that Quaid might as well patent (Wasn't his ID4 character basically just Eddie with a fighter jet?). Still, it's funny. Not as funny as he was in CHRISTMAS VACATION, mind you (who didn't laugh at "Merry Christmas, the shitter was full!"?) but he's still the funniest person in this movie.

3. Christie Brinkley's return as the dream girl. Since, according to the box office receipts anyway, this is the last VACATION installment, it kinda brings the series full circle.

4. Return of the Griswold theme song "Holiday Road" by Lindsey Buckingham from EUROPEAN VACATION. Since this film was previously the worst installment of the series, this sorta also brings the series full circle.

5. VEGAS VACATION is frighteningly similair to the indie hit SWINGERS.
-The main character constantly shouts "Vegas!" while driving his car.
-The happenin' soundtrack featuring Frank Sinatra, Wayne Newton, and Tony Bennett.
-The first table Clark hits is the hundred dollar blackjack table. Sound familiar? He also loses. Whoa, that's money, baby!

6. It's only 95 minutes long.

7. Wallace Shawn as the 21 dealer who beats the fuck out of Clark on a regular basis. Inconceivable!

That's about all the good points about this movie. The rest is shit. However, I will point out the worst of the shit.

1. This movie is rated PG! What the fuck is that? So far the VACATION movies' ratings have been R, PG-13, and PG-13. What the fuck? I've used more vulgarity in this paragraph than appears in the entire fucking movie! Swearing is a staple of the VACATION series, and a source of much of the comedy. Without it, it falls flat. (see MAJOR LEAGUE II)

2. This film relies WAY too much on Randy Quaid. They think his presence alone makes for good comedy. This might be true if it were a fresh character, but it ain't! Some writing might have helped.

3. Chevy Chase. Some comedians need to be put out of their misery. In my humble opinion, he should have been shot right after FLETCH. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Yeah, but what about the THREE AMIGOS?)

4. Beverly D'Angelo. They keep changing the kids, so why not get a wife who's young enough to be as sexy as she's supposed to be?

5. This installment was NOT brought to you by the fuckups at NATIONAL LAMPOON. Considering they recently released SENIOR TRIP and FAVORITE DEADLY SINS, how shitty do you have to be before they don't put their name above your title?

6. The really lame Hoover Dam sequence. You know, they did this in BEAVIS AND BUTTHEAD DO AMERICA too. We get such great wordplay as "Where can I get some damn bait?" and "Where's the Damn dam tour?" Oh boy. Side splitting. The only thing that would have made that one better is if the movie had starred Jean-Claude Van Damme. Get it?

7. Wayne Newton. I know Tom Jones. You, sir, are no Tom Jones (see MARS ATTACKS!)

8. No one says the word "fuck".

9. This Rusty sucks. Bring back Anthony Michael Hall!

10. This movie is a whole 95 minutes long.

Look at the first list. Most of its items are carryovers from the other installments. But without the swearing and the nudity and humor, It just don't cut it. I write this because while the first three ain't Kryswolski's RED, WHITE, and BLUE, I still like them. I got a special place in my heart for 'em. They make me laugh. On a rare occasion, so did VEGAS VACATION. But not more than two or three times. I will mourn the fall of the Griswolds, but not much. They always were a bunch of assholes, anyway.


All Material Copyright 1998-2006 Movie Criticism for the Retarded.

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