National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Dir: Jeremiah S. Chechik, 1989


This review refers to the uncut version

Christmas is here, the shops are selling out and the carols can be heard wherever you go, so it’s time for some good old Christmas films.

Family man, Clark Griswald (Chevy Chase), is determined to have a Christmas with all the family, just like in the days of old.

His parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles, in laws, cousins, everyone.

But, it’s the Griswald’s, and nothing can EVER go right!

Also known as National Lampoon’s Winter Holiday, this third outing for Clark and his wife, Helen (Beverly D’Angelo), is the best if the four Chase and D’Angelo Vacation movies.

Aside from one f-word (the original UK release cut the word out to get a ‘PG’), and some very mild swear words, you’ve got a real family film.

The humour can be a little near the knuckle, but nothing explicit and Will make the adults chuckle. Parents may still want to vet the film, first, for very young viewers.

Whereas the previous entries into the series had a reliance on sex and nudity, Christmas Vacation does away with that and goes more for suggestive.

Clearly, Warner Bros. and Chechik had the sole intent to make a feel good film that could be enjoyed by the household.

Randy Quaid returns as the none-too-bright Cousin Eddie, stealing the film from the rest of the cast.

Focusing on Clark’s accident prone and walking disaster persona, the film is less serious and has a bent toward slapstick.

This works in the film’s favour, as it doesn’t try to be clever and is a type of comedy that people of any age can enjoy.

Many Christmas films, don’t always FEEL like Christmas. Sure, they’ve got snow (which doesn’t happen in Britain), trees, decorations, etc, but it lacks the spirit and joy of the festive season.

Chechik, superbly, creates a feel good film, bursting with cheer and fun, fully delivering the wonderful time that Christmas is.

Forget about Frank Capra and James Stewart, or Dudley Moore as an elf, go watch this instead.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is essential December viewing.


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