National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

(In French, Fourth or fifth viewing, December 2016) Surprisingly enough, I can’t find a review of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation in my files even though I must have watched it a handful of times before. Heck, the film has even become a Christmas tradition in my household. What’s not to love about it? It’s an itemized look at the excesses of Christmas for the middle-class, deftly zigzagging between cynical laughs and exasperated sentiment. It’s a collection of memorable sequences, each of them madcap and taken to the limits. (My hands-down favourite: the “Squirrel!” sequence) It’s a showcase for Chevy Chase, who reprises his role as the Griswold patriarch, but gives him added depth by staying home. For men, it’s an excuse to look at the combined charms of Nicolette Sheridan, Beverly D’Angelo’s green outfit and eighties-chic Julia Louis-Dreyfus. It remains very funny even today, and I suspect that its timeless charm only makes it feel even more relevant nowadays. Worth seeing again; worth seeing every year.

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