Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Vacation (1989)

"I don't know what to say, except it's
Christmas and we're all in misery."

- Clark "Sparky" Griswold (Chevy Chase) has some big plans for Christmas: take both in-law branches of the family tree into the Griswold home and have the best "old fashioned family Christmas" a white suburbanite could possibly imagine. In typical Griswold form, the planned event goes from bad to worse; however, this Griswold "Vacation" film is not so typical because it is actually really funny.

The majority of the National Lampoon's "Vacation" films have struck me as being hit-or-miss, mediocre-to-bad movies. However, in rare, Christmas miracle fashion, National Lampoon's created a real winner for the last Christmas  season of the 1980s. Christmas Vacation (1989) is the black sheep of the Griswold "Vacation" family, existing as a humorous holiday classic. Yes, there is a lot of very stupid humor in this film - the toilet humor, the slapstick, the wise-guy-cracks - I will give you that. BUT: you cannot help but laugh at it all! It does not matter how many times I have seen Clark fall off the roof trying to cover his entire house with Christmas lights, his nervous Freudian-slip filled flirtation with the department store bunny, his battle of lack-of-wits with Cousin Eddie, or his major freak out on Christmas Day - I laugh just as hard as I did the first time I saw it.

On top of Christmas Vacation being a very funny film, it has a very merry Christmassy feeling that you just cannot help but get into. It is this Christmas feel-goodness and cheer added to the laughs that keeps you coming back for more each year. It is just not Christmas without Christmas Vacation!

CBC Rating: 8/10

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