Chocked with cameos. One of the best things about the Vacation franchise is the way they handled surprise cameos. Around the time that the originals were at the highest point of popularity, the filmmakers of those films often employed the talent of SNL and other popular sitcom actors to stop by the set and create a few crazy side characters- and usually with hilarious results. Vacation makes no exception. There are tons of familiar faces that randomly pop up throughout the runtime of the film and are a ton of fun to watch; especially a scene-stealing cameo from Charlie Day.
Crude and crass. The film’s screenplay is extremely vile at times, almost the point where it feels off-putting. A majority of the humor works really well as most of the cast sells the crassness, while others times they don’t sell it. Sometimes it just feels forced and nasty for the sake of it.
Vacation spots. The film itself almost feels like a series of vignettes, where things kind of just happen along the way. Most comedy classics, like Airplane or even the original Vacation film- play off of this vignette idea pretty well, but that’s mostly just because of the cleverness of the jokes and the way that they play throughout those films. Here we only have a handful of jokes that really have a through line within the film. There’s a big self-referential sense of humor that works pretty well, but it unfortunately, gets pushed to the side to make way for the crude potty humor that litters the rest of the film.
Kids are the worst. Helms and Applegate are actually pretty decent here, despite them being an odd looking couple (which is played for laughs too). They both work with the not-so-great material they have, and the majority of the laughs they earn are noticeably ad-libbed. Their children are what really soil the experience. The kids in the film are awkward and dull; particularly the younger of the two. His character is foul-mouthed and abusive. It’s supposed to come off as funny, but instead it just comes off as obnoxious and uncreative. Audiences aren’t going to laugh just because a kid says a dirty word; that’s Adam Sandler territory, guys.
A forgettable trip. The best way to describe Vacation is this: you’re a kid that’s going on a vacation to Disneyland. You’ve heard awful things about how it’s not really the dream that the commercials have told you it is; but then you get there, it’s not dreary. It’s sort of fun for the time being. You have some laughs and some memorable moments, but after it’s all said and done, you won’t remember this vacation for a second.