“National Lampoon’s Vacation” takes every family’s worst vacation nightmares and combines them into one hysterical trip for the Clark (father), Ellen (mother), Rusty (son), and Audrey Griswold (daughter).
The movie opens with Clark Griswold, played by Chevy Chase, and his son Rusty (Anthony Michael Hall), going to the car dealership to pick up their new station wagon for the family’s trip to Wally World. While at the dealership, Clark learns that they do not have the car he ordered and the wrecking crew at the dealership manages to crush his old car before he has a chance to take it back.
The opening scene is just an indicator of how the Griswold’s trip will go. Along the way from Chicago to California, they run into some “trouble” in St. Louis, drive their car off a ramp in the desert, find themselves eating sandwiches soaked in dog pee, experience a wild ride when Clark falls asleep at the wheel, rob a hotel, and much more.
Along way, as each of these fiascos takes place, Clark seems to loose a little more of his mind. Frustrated with his wife’s aunt and dog, he ties the dog to the bumper of the car and forgets to untie him before driving away. After launching the car off of the ramp in the middle of the desert, Clark goes off in search of help and ends up walking around rambling with his pants on his head. After his wife’s aunt passes away near Flagstaff, Clark puts her on the roof of the car, drives her to her son’s house and leaves her on the porch. He then, after the family decides that they want to go home, goes off on a rant were he ensures that they’ll be “singing zipitee dooda out of [their rear ends].”
Clark’s antics reach their peak when the family arrives at Wally World and it’s closed. He ends up holding up security with a BB gun and forcing a guard, played by John Candy, to take them around to all of the rides.
The movie itself gets a fabulous grade for originality and hilarity. Though the movie rightfully received an R rating, there were several aspects of the movie that could have been removed without taking away from the movie. The excessive cursing, particularly the use of the f-word, were probably added as an indicator of Clark’s personality and frustration. Three scenes contained nudity that didn’t seem to add anything to the movie. Also, while visiting Ellen’s cousins, there was a discussion about “bompering bologna” and another discussion that indicated that Ellen’s cousin’s husband was having an inappropriate relationship with his daughter. These last few things didn’t seem to add anything to the movie, but made it much less appropriate to show to younger children.
Where you can buy it: