“Christmas Vacation” | Movie Review

national-lampoons-christmas-vacation-11457Grade (A+)

An iconic holiday movie with tons of laughs and scenarios we can all relate to, only with a Griswold seasoning added to it.

Written by the iconic Hollywood legend John Hughes, National Lampoon’s “Christmas Vacation” is one of the most famous holiday-themed films in history. Comedic legend Chevy Chase had already built a legend out of the character of Clark Griswold in the first two “Vacation” films but this performance cemented the character as one of the most memorable in cinema history in my opinion.

The film also stars; Beverly D’Angelo, Juliette Lewis, Johnny Galecki, Randy Quaid and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

The story follows family man Clark Griswold (Chase) who is once again trying to provide his wife Ellen (D’Angelo) and children Rusty (Galecki) and Audrey (Lewis) with a traditional family experience. This time it’s the biggest holiday of the year, Christmas. As if the merging of families, and unexpected guests are not enough to disrupt his goals, Clark’s biggest hindrance will once again be himself. Nothing will go as scheduled as he bumbles his way through the holiday and despite many set-backs, the message of ‘family’ will still fill the season.

Not everyone will come to love this movie as much as I do. Every year it is a fixture for entertainment and despite the repetition, the comedic situations and dialogue never get old. With this being the third installment in the “Vacation” series the characters are already established and are able to quickly launch into the story. The film starts right in the beginning of the season as Clark Griswold begins his journey of providing his family with the perfect traditional Christmas.

More family begins to arrive and as they do, so come the laughs. There are many scenarios that people can relate to whether it be the addition of the in-laws, faulty Christmas lights, or the much anticipated arrival of a yearly Christmas bonus. The story stays simple and manages to provide a unique holiday-feel throughout the otherwise, destructive mishaps.


Not like the first two (more adult targeted) films in the series, this one was the first to tone down the level of crude humor and still managed to provide handfuls of laughter. Chevy Chase continues his excellence as Clark Griswold and this films collection of cast members all worked well together. Cousin Eddie (Quaid) is at his finest as the bumbling and repulsive uninvited guest, and the chemistry onscreen between Quaid and Chase is classic comedic material.

The film keeps a swift pace and wraps itself up pretty quick. The comedic scenes roll through the script one after another and the next thing you know the end credits are rolling. John Hughes was able to capture all the memorable Christmas moments from sledding, to hanging up the lights on the house, shopping for gifts and selecting the perfect tree. Together it gives this film such a strong holiday charm that its entertainment is simply timeless.

Together; the moments we all remember from the holiday as children, added with some clever dialogue and a ton of laughs, add up to a great final film. “Christmas Vacation” is a fun movie that can be watched by the whole family and earns a sport among the best holiday movies of all-time. Chevy Chase is at his best as a (PG Rated) Clark Griswold, and the film should be a part of anyone’s holiday movie rotation.

Time: 97 min

MPAA Rating: PG-13 (For some mild sexual content and humor, drug content, strong language and brief partial nudity)

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