National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) Review

Keeping with the Christmas reviews, I thought it would be necessary to include Christmas Vacation as a personal favourite in the slap stick category. To me this is probably one of the funniest films about a family Christmas I can think of and so many laugh out loud moments you’ll want to watch it every year. The funniest thing about this film is its story of a dad trying to create the perfect Christmas with the whole family, although this has been tried many times over this is one of the only ones that I thought were really funny. Of course it doesn’t hurt to be a fan of the national lampoons films when watching this but I know it’s still good if you don’t know any of the other films. Enjoy the review and I hope you get a chance to watch this at the holidays.

National Lampoons Christmas Vacation - Banner

Chevy Chase, star of National Lampoon’s Vacation and its sequel, is back as the paterfamilias of the Griswold family (including Beverly D’Angelo as his missus) to skewer the Yuletide season. Chevy mugs, trips, falls, mashes his fingers and stubs his toes as he prepares to invite numerous dysfunctional relatives to his household to celebrate Christmas. Amidst the more outrageous sight gags (including the electrocution of a cat as the Christmas tree is lit) the film betrays a sentimental streak, with old wounds healing and long-estranged relatives reuniting in the Griswold living room. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation was still capable of attracting an audience five years after its release — it was one of the top-rated seasonal TV specials of 1994, outrating even the first network telecast of It’s a Wonderful Life.

Tim’s Film Reviews Recommended.

Story: 75%       Acting: 80%      Visuals: 70%      Dialogue: 85%

The Laughs: 80%      Style/Sound: 75%      Characters: 80%

Total: 77%

National Lampoons Christmas Vacation - Poster

To start off let’s talk about the acting. The acting was good and it was easy to believe they were all part of a deeply dysfunctional family. The main Clark Griswold played by Chevy Chase is a fantastic father character and with the Christmas time there is plenty of material to work with. My favourite part of the dad at Christmas was the stuff like Christmas trees and setting up the lights, because as all dads there is a period of learning these skills and clearly getting it down to an art form is something that takes many. Watching Chase fail at this was hilarious and just keeps bring me back memories of my own father failing to untangle lights or nearly falling ladders, then the famous swearing and blasphemy came every time he got something wrong (Jesus Christ one bulb are you serious!) best memories ever.

National Lampoons Christmas Vacation - Finale

So let’s talk about the visuals. The Visuals are good for a comedy like this and even if most of it looks naffe well who the hell cares am laughing my ass off, and isn’t that what Christmas is all about? The lampoons are famous for their ridiculous visuals at times for example in this film it would have to be the sled with the lubricant on it blasting off into the distance, really funny but clearly a green screen. Not sure if I mentioned it before but I love me some slap stick humour and this has plenty of it, but to me everything else funny in the film pales in comparison to the unbelievable funny freak out by Chevy Chase, easily one of my favourites and so believable on the holiday that it tends to happen the most. Christmas! The main reason for middle aged men losing their hair.

It’s Christmas! You Watch Trailer!

The best reviews I have found would be these “a fairly perfect blend… of cartoon violence and mayhem and the pleasant lightness of a Christmas movie.” Tim Brayton. Yeah it’s made up of them, wouldn’t say it was perfect but it’s damn funny. Also “John Hughes wrote the screenplay for this silly, warm little guilty pleasure that nails most of the trials and tribulations of spending the holidays with family.” Jeffrey M. Anderson. They did nail the trials of being with family at Christmas especially the effects of this on the dad. My favourite scene is hard to choice there are few that really got me laughing, so it’s either when Clark receives the “Bonus” and flips out or when the police start raiding the house, this got me mainly because of the set-up, the set up was fantastic from the music to the next door neighbours being clueless and getting their house raided as well.

Actually this might take the prize:

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Funny Clips!!!

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About Tim The Film Guy

Very opinionated about films!

13 responses to “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) Review”

  1. The Focused Filmographer says :

    gotta love those Christmas bonuses. haha.


  2. table9mutant says :

    I like when he loses it at the end- “We’re gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye!”. And, of course, “Shitter was full!” 😉


  3. Tyson Carter says :

    Just watched it the other day, still love it!!


  4. jmount43 says :

    Oh, and as for the first Vacation, I was more turned on by Beverly D’Angelo than Christie Brinkley. Reowwwwrrrr!!


  5. jmount43 says :

    The scene with the department store clerk is enough reason to own this movie.


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  1. Tim’s Reviews: Christmas Vacation | Grizzly Bomb - December 25, 2012

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