"National Lampoon's European Vacation" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
Some sequels are better than their predecessor. For example, "T2: Judgement Day" is far more superior than the original Terminator was. Some superhero films, such as "The Dark Knight" and "Thor: Ragnarok" are way better than the movies that came before them. In the case of this film, "National Lampoon's European Vacation", the sequel is way worse than the original. I was extremely disappointed when watching this film, and felt like it dragged on, and on, and on.
After competing on a popular game show, the Griswolds (Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo) win a trip to Europe. The two parents are excited, while their kids Rusty (Jason Lively) and Audrey (Dana Hill) are dreading the two week vacation.
This is not the vacation they are expecting however. The culture and way of life in Europe is vastly different from in America. The family realizes that very quickly, and realize this vacation may have been a mistake.
This film tries to recreate the same hijinks and hilarious adventures the family goes on, yet fails miserably. None of the film is memorable or even remotely funny as the original. The comedy is bland and dry, and it doesn't seem like the actors tried their hardest to make this an enjoyable film.
Throughout the film, there were a couple of gags and jokes that made me feel extremely uncomfortable. For example, in the opening scene at the game show, the host kisses D'Angelo, then fully makes out with Hill against her will. I get it- it's a joke towards game show hosts of that era making out with the contestants. But from Hill's struggling and reaction after, it leaves a sick and uncomfortable feeling in your stomach. It seems as if this movie tried to make their humor darker and less family-friendly, but it just didn't work.
I was extremely annoyed by the kids in this film, especially Hill. Every time she opened her mouth, I would roll my eyes. She was horrible in this film, and I believe she ruined a lot of this movie. She was whiny and annoying. Lively didn't make this any better. Even though he wasn't as bad as Hill's performance, I was still struggling to not turn the film off whenever he came on screen.
There were a few funny scenes, such as the part where they are at the restaurant in Paris. Clark (Chase) is trying to order in French, and the rude waiter tells him extremely inappropriate things back in French since Clark can't understand him. Clark just keeps nodding his head and agreeing with the waiter, even when the waiter is complimenting on the size of his wife's breasts.
I feel extremely bad for Clark. He is just trying to take his family on vacation and show them things they have never seen before, and the entire family fights him and complains about everything he does. This is honestly bad and lazy writing. No one wants to go see a film where the whole family complains for an hour and a half. Why couldn't have this been more like the first one, where the surroundings and people they meet caused the laughs, instead of forcing it with whiny and annoying characters?