Monday, September 21, 2015

Being Awful and Stupid Makes 'Vacation' Funny

Vacation serves as the fifth theatrical installment (I mentioned “theatrical” because there’s also a TV movie spin-off) of the National Lampoon’s Vacation series as well as an attempt of a reboot.  The movie centers on a grown up Rusty Griswald (Ed Helms), son of the main protagonist of the original series, who decides to take his family on a road trip to Walley World just as what he had experienced with his parents and sister many years before (as seen in the first movie).  Unfortunately, instead of fun and quality bonding moments, misfortunes and misadventures are what they encounter along the way instead.

It is obvious that the intent is to replicate the charm and heart of the first movie, National Lampoon’s Vacation, which is a comedy classic.  But it’s done in the laziest manner possible – by basically copying the plotline of the original movie.  The result is a stupid movie with stupid characters, stupid narrative, and stupid jokes.

That said, it’s a funny movie.  Not hilarious, but at least funny.

It has some genuinely funny parts that warrant some slight laughs by themselves.  E.g. the rental car that the family used on this trip happens to be the most ridiculous rental car ever.  Unfortunately, most of the time, the humor is either dumb or cringe-worthy.

So what makes this movie funny then?  Well, just because it’s awful and stupid.  The movie per se might fall short in making one laugh, but it's possible to naturally laugh at this movie.  Its failure to be a funny comedy movie actually makes it funny.

Vacation isn’t the worst in the franchise, but it’s an objectively bad movie.  And yet, it made me laugh.  I may be laughing for the wrong reasons, but at least the experience of watching it didn’t turn out to be agonizingly dull.

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