The Griswolds Return to Walley World
By Skip Sheffield
It’s been 35 years since the Griswold family took to the road in an ill-fated attempt to visit the Disney-like Walley World theme park. They haven’t learned a darn thing.
Rusty, who was a teenager in the original movie, is now a mid-40s family man played by Ed Helms. Helms is good at playing clueless screw-ups such as the character he played in “The Hangover” and its sequel. Rusty Griswold is a pilot for the third-rate Econo-Air company, based in Chicago. This is good for a few gags about his lowly job status. Helms is more likeable than Chevy Chase, who plays his dad, Clark Griswold. Chase does a cameo with his screen wife Beverly D’Angelo at the end of the film, but it is forgettable
Playing Rusty’s wife Debbie is Christina Applegate, who rose to fame as the dim-bulb daughter in “Married With Children.” Here she plays a variation of that character, with questionable morals. Sons James and Kevin are played by Skyler Gisondo and Steele Stebbins. Gisondo scores points with his would-be cute girl love interest Adena, played by Catherine Missal.
The biggest surprise is Chris Hemsworth’s hilarious turn as super-stud Stone Crandall, married to Audrey (Leslie Mann) in a Texas McMansion.
“Vacation” is really just a succession of sight gags. Some of them are funnier than others, but there are enough laughs to please even the dimmest audience. The movie is written by directors John Francis Daly and Jonathan M. Goldstein, who previously collaborated on “Horrible Bosses.” The characters are based on those created by the late, lamented John Hughes, who sadly passed away in 2009. He is missed here.