Saturday, May 26, 2012
The 31 Day Movie Challenge - Day 28- VEGAS VACATION (1997)
- Rated PG for sensuality, language and thematic elements. (But the MPAA would probably give it a PG13 today for the exact same reasons. Pussies!)
- Starring Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Randy Quaid, Ethan Embry, Wayne Newton
- Story by Elisa Bell & Bob Ducsay; Screenplay by Elisa Bell
- Directed by Stephen Kessler
- Running time: 1hr 34min.
(The 31 Day Movie Challenge was proposed to me by fellow film critic Jessie Hoheisel (from superawesomemovieblog). We each chose 30 films for each other to review for the month of May. The first film chosen will be from 1970. The second film from 1971... and so on. The last day will be a film from 2000. I accepted the challenge!)
I have a certain fondness for the VACATION movies. I saw the first one many times (edited for television) growing up. I still laugh at parts when I see it on the tube, but haven't actually sat down and seriously watched it in a long time. EUROPEAN VACATION I liked when I saw it in the move theater when I was.... wow, 9 years old. I thought I was older than that. Huh. Anyway, I saw CHIRSTMAS VACATION at least 2 times in the theater, and I had fun with it. Though I did watch it about 5 years ago and felt that it didn't hold up too well. When VEGAS VACATION came out, I was done with the Griswold's. That and I just didn't want to see a rated PG VACATION movie. So this was my first time watching it.
The movie opens amusingly with Clark (Chase) singing to the Beach Boy's Good Vibrations, which is kind of funny since he can't hit any of the high notes. This is the Clark I remember from the first films. Anyway, he goes home to his family (Ellen, Rusty and Audrey), and tells them about his big bonus. This means they can go to Las Vegas, but his family isn't too thrilled until he mentions that they he and Ellen are to renew their vows there. Pretty much like any other VACATION movie, things don't go as planned. Instead of bringing their family closer, they grow further apart. Clark becomes addicted to gambling, Ellen goes on dates with Wayne Newton (who is love with her), Rusty gets a fake ID so he can gamble, and Audrey learns how to pole dance from cousin Vicky. And of course, cousin Eddie (Quaid) is back to annoy Clark and audiences alike.
Actually, compared to the other films in the series, this one is pretty tame. I hate movies that show strip clubs with the girls fully clothed. If you're going to have the balls to write gags about a strip club, at least have the balls to show nudity in your movie. Sheesh! The jokes lack bite, instead coming across like typical sitcom fare. Every once in awhile I would chuckle at something Chevy Chase does, who for the most part stays true to the Griswold character. Beverly D'Angelo seems to have gotten way hotter through the course of the films, which just seems wrong. But she's fine here. The kids aren't very good though. Ethan Embry plays Rusty like he's got some kind of mental deficiency, and Audrey I thought was just bland. If you liked Randy Quaid's Eddie in the other 2 films he was in, you might like him here. Personally, I thought he was the worst thing in the previous ones, so I found him just as annoying here. Wayne Newton seems to be having fun in a glorified cameo, but it's one-joke premise wears thin.
The humor doesn't really work here. Most of them fall flat. Like Clark getting lost at the Hoover Dam and winding up climbing it. At a Segfried and Roy show, they seem to be building up to a joke when Clark joins them on stage, but then the scene just ends. No joke? Okay....... Didn't see the point in that one. It was nice seeing Christie Brinkley reprising her "hot chick in a car" role, even though the gag doesn't go anywhere. And by the end of the movie, they try to make it all schmaltzy and about family. Who cares? I just want to see some funny jokes.
Despite Chevy Chase's decent effort trying to revive the Griswold franchise, VEGAS VACATION is just a big disappointment. This one could have just premiered on TV, as it resembles that sort of mediocrity. Uninspired, tired and boring.
*1/2 (out of ****)