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National Lampoon's Vacation
1983 - R - 98 Mins.
Director: Harold Ramis
Producer: Matty Simmons
Written By: John Hughes
Starring: Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Anthony Michael Hall, Dana Barron, Randy Quaid
Review by: John Ulmer
   
Every summer Chevy Chase takes his family on a little trip. This year he went too far.

Chevy Chase stars as Clark Griswold, the typical American businessman. Well, almost a basic businessman. He works in food preservatives. Beverly D'Angelo plays his wife, Anthony Michael Hall plays Rusty, his teenage son, and Dana Barron plays his daughter Audrey . This summer, Clark has decided to go all out and take a vacation with his family to "Walley World," a theme park spoof on Disney World, owned by "Roy Walley".

Basically, this film starts out strong and ends strong. There are many gut grabbing scenes, and the film never resorts to gross out humor. The biggest gross out is when Clark bites into a sandwich a dog leaked on, but that's a different story.

Along the way to Walley World, everything and everything that can go wrong does, and Clark ends up with Aunt Edna (Imogene Coca), who adds more fun to this wallop of a comedy.

The laughter just escalates more and more as we see Clark's dreams flush down the toilet farther and farther, and I can't tell you how much I laughed at some of the scenes.

"Vacation" isn't typical National Lampoon fare.

Chevy Chase gives by far his best performance (akthough he acts just as well in "Christmas Vacation") as Clark, a real optimist, go get'm kind of guy, who completely snaps toward the end of the film. The rest of the cast does well, and Beverly D'Angelo does surprisingly well as a house wife. The two children, Audrey and Rusy, squawk at each other, but not to the point of obnoxious, which is another good thing about this film.

Is it no surprise that John Hughes, the king writer/director of the 80's comedy films wrote this, or that Harold Ramis (Groundhog Day, Ghostbusters, Striped, Analyze This) directed the film?

With cameos by the likes of John Candy, Eugene Levy, Brian Doyle Murray (who played Clark's boss in "Christmas Vacation"), and more, "Vacation" is a comedic triumph of the eighties that is now an icon of how to make a good comedy.
 
Movie Guru Rating
An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant. An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant. An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant. An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant. An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant.
  4.5 out of 5 stars

 
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