Vacation (2015)

(Video on Demand, January 2016) Are Hollywood studios so desperate that we’re now down to comedy franchise reboots? Oh, you can make a good case for the Chevy-Chase “Vacation” quartet as some sort of classic (especially the Christmas one), but rehashing vacation-themed films through the son’s character in the original series seems more crassly desperate than most other attempts to exploit moviegoers. The result isn’t fit to make anyone think more highly of the process: It’s not that Vacation is terrible, but that it’s scattered everywhere, without much control over its own tone or jokes as it seemingly leaps off in all directions (sometimes literally straddling four states at once). There’s heartwarming family reconciliation, some gross-out material, several quick appearances by known comedians, undercooked subplots and an overall lack of cohesion. Ed Helms is pretty good as the stereotypically harried husband/father and some of the cameos are fine (this does not include Chevy Chase, who looks as if he should have retired a long time ago) and yet Vacation is as ordinary as it comes. It’s funny enough, but it could have been better given slightly more effort.

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