The VACATION Trailer Is Finally Here

The holiday road gets raunchy.

I'm sure I've mentioned it before in a Community post, but just in case: watching the original National Lampoon's Vacation with my dad is one of my oldest memories.  And before you question my ability to retain memories - I was three years old.  It is certainly not a film for three year-olds, but I'm sure he made me cover my ears/eyes at the appropriate parts (he would be less careful for European Vacation - that German girl Rusty makes out with is the first pair of breasts I remember seeing).  I could go on and on, but to sum up: I have a very, very strong affinity for the three films in this series (there are only three. Do not argue.), which makes me a tough critic for Vacation, the quasi-remake but technical-sequel to the original film, the trailer for which has finally debuted, less than three months before the film opens.

It's an intriguing approach to reviving an old property; by keeping it in continuity but redoing the basic plot of the Griswold family driving cross country to Wally World, they're essentially having their cake and eating it too.  The purists can't get too bent out of shape about it, since it's actually a sequel - Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo as Clark and Ellen are in it! - but as Rusty (Ed Helms, taking over from Anthony Michael Hall, Jason Lively, and Johnny Galecki) points out in the trailer, "This Vacation will stand on its own".  It's part of an extended meta conversation about how no one remembers the original, but that sort of humor seems to be confined to that one scene.

Otherwise, the trailer is surprisingly raunchy, with every other joke seeming sex-related in some way.  There's a rim-job joke (with added quasi-incest!), a glory hole joke, Chris Hemsworth's giant cock protruding from his underwear, etc.  There are a few nice callbacks to the original (terrific update to the Christie Brinkley scene) and a brief appearance from Chev & Bev, but otherwise it seems like they haven't replicated too much of the original, which would be fairly stupid since it's a sequel and Rusty would probably have massive deja vu if they suddenly had to put their dead aunt on the roof of the car or something.

I'm still not entirely sold on Ed Helms as Rusty though.  His comic persona is a bit similar to Chevy's (well meaning doofus), so when he comes off as Clark-ish it's kind of jarring when the actual Clark is still around.  The best Rustys were smarter than Clark and a bit of a smartass; frankly, I always thought Jason Bateman would be a terrific grown up Rusty, which is funny because he has two other movies coming out on the same day (The Gift, and he's narrating the Lego documentary - all release on July 31st).  Oddly, I have no qualms about Leslie Mann as Audrey, who also doesn't seem like she'd be the result of any previous incarnation of the character either, but Leslie Mann in a movie is always a good thing so I'll let it slide.

Otherwise... I'm kind of excited for it?  Seeing Chevy on the big screen is a rare treat these days (with the footage from the original, I think he actually appears more in this trailer than he did in Hot Tub Time Machine 2), and they seem to be going out of their way to live up to the original's tone (albeit more sexually explicit) while carving their own path, which is the best approach they can take in order to win over old fans while making plenty of their own.   I can't imagine someone opting not to see the film because they haven't seen the others, and old-school fans should be enticed back by the film's R rating.  The series gradually reduced its hard edges; the original was R, European Vacation was BASICALLY an R but somehow got away with a PG-13 despite even more nudity than the original (and an F bomb or two), and Christmas got a PG-13 fair and square (and again, there are only three movies, but if there WAS a fourth, it was a flat out PG).  There's no continuity to these movies anyway, but it seems like they're ignoring any callbacks to the Griswolds' other vacations and focusing on the original/best.  Fine by me!

Vacation hits theaters on July 31st.