"National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" Film Review

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989) - IMDb

"National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" Film Review

Rating: 3/5

By: Nathaniel Simpson

    John Hughes' film, "National Lampoon's Vacation" helped start his career as one of the most famous screenwriters of the time. After an extremely disappointing sequel to the first film, he returned to the Griswold family for another wacky adventure- this time during Christmas. 

    Hughes has made some of the best Christmas films of all time, and "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" falls into that category, alongside "Home Alone" and "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles". The film follows the Griswold family as they try to keep their sanity when their in-laws and cousins visit for the holidays. 

    As evident in the predecessor to this film, it leans more into the slapstick genre. This film is more over-the-top with its jokes and gags compared to the first film in the franchise. Some of it is funny, like the moment where Clark (Chevy Chase) falls off the ladder or when he throws a fit when the Christmas lights won't work. But a lot of it is borderline annoying and unfunny, like the scene where the whole family does the drumroll. 

    It also has more toilet humor and gags present. For example, when the hick Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) empties the waste from the toilet in the trailer into the gutter. Later on in the film, it catches fire because it is flammable. Speaking of Cousin Eddie, I was honestly extremely annoyed by him as the film went on. It was just stupid humor. I enjoy stupid humor in some films, such as "Stepbrothers", but it doesn't work well in this film. 

    I think Chase tried too hard to be funny. The scene that I hate so much in this film is when the mailman drops off an envelope to Clark, who thinks it's his bonus. It literally feels like forever until he opens it as he keeps talking and prolonging it. Granted, we can't fully blame Chase for this as the script contained this horrible scene, but he made it more annoying in my opinion. 

    Even though it has some shortcomings, this film is enjoyable enough. I think people overhype it a lot by saying it's the best Christmas film ever made. I personally don't agree with that. Sure, it's fun to watch and I'll watch it every Christmas season, but I definitely wouldn't turn to this film as my first choice if I wanted to watch a comedy.