HCF Xmas Movie Advent Calender #13: NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION [1989]

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Clark Griswold, who works for a food-additive company that does not appreciate him, decides that he and his family will have the best “good old fashioned family Christmas ever” ever.  He drags his wife Ellen and their two children Russ and Audrey on a snowy trek to find and cut down the perfect Christmas tree, only to find he neglected to bring his saw.  After returning home with considerable difficulty, the Christmas guests turn up and immediately start bickering; Clark and Ellen’s parents, his aunt and uncle, and, just when things can’t get any worse, the unexpected surprise of Clark’s cousin and her sloppy family.  Still, Clark has been working all hours setting up Christmas lights all over the outside of the house,  and they are going to look magnificent.  At least Clark thinks so, until he turns them on and they don’t work……….

You’ve got to feel for Clark Griswold.  In the previous two Vacation movies, he took his family across America and Europe and disaster struck.  Now, it seems he can’t even have a decent Christmas at home without disaster striking.  Lights don’t work, he gets stuck in the loft, a cat is wrapped up as a Christmas present, the turkey explodes, a squirrel runs around, the relatives cannot get more annoying; it all happens, but most of it is somewhat plausible giving this movie quite a relatable feel.  All through this though, Clark never loses his optimism, once again proving he is a real cinematic hero, though many of course will side more with his wife, who is the voice of reason, and their kids, who cope with it all by being constantly cynical.  It’s a shame that Chevy Chase, the talented comedy star of these films and the Fletch movies, isn’t seen much these days; in this movie, he makes the hoariest of slapstick gags, such as repeatedly walking up the ends of beams which hit him in the face, seem funny.  Randy Quaid is equally funny as Eddie, his cousin Catherine’s husband; he’s a greasy slob who always means well but you know is going to unwittingly cause trouble. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation lacks the pace of the first two movies, not to mention their raunchiness, and a few major scenes just don’t really work.  It’s good, relaxing festive fun though,  with enough cheeky laughs to please most folks while not containing anything to offend the relatives.  O actually maybe it does………

Rating: ★★★★★★½☆☆☆

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About Dr Lenera 1985 Articles
I'm a huge film fan and will watch pretty much any type of film, from Martial Arts to Westerns, from Romances [though I don't really like Romcoms!]] to Historical Epics. Though I most certainly 'have a life', I tend to go to the cinema twice a week! However,ever since I was a kid, sneaking downstairs when my parents had gone to bed to watch old Universal and Hammer horror movies, I've always been especially fascinated by horror, and though I enjoy all types of horror films, those Golden Oldies with people like Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee probably remain my favourites. That's not to say I don't enjoy a bit of blood and gore every now and again though, and am also a huge fan of Italian horror, I just love the style.

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