Every year, during Christmastime my dad and I have a tradition: we watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. We have been doing this since 1990 (bar a couple of years but we’ve been pretty consistent) incidentally, at the time, my dad was 39, the same age I am now but anyway.
Like all good comedies, the plot is simple in order to leave room for all the jokes. Clark Griswold wants to have an old fashioned family Christmas with all the relatives bonding. As with the previous National Lampoon films, it all goes horribly wrong and there’s the usual trail of destruction, snappy one liners and slapstick moments. For a simple comedy there’s quite a team behind it; John Hughes wrote the script, Angelo Baldamenti scored the film and there’s an all star cast. It does deliver.
The jokes come thick and they are all great : the tree removal scene, the super fast metal sled, the squirrel chase scene, the Christmas lights that suck out the whole neighborhood’s electricity, it makes a fast paced comedy enjoyable. Obviously it’s not perfect. The attic scene ruins the pace of the film and Chevy Chase,Randy Quaid and William Hickey get all the good lines, while the rest seem like a supporting cast and if you cut out the Nicolette Scorcese sequences, the film wouldn’t really be affected.
I will admit that the film does not make me laugh anymore, the exceptions being the tree bit in the beginning and the deflating turkey but it has more importance than that. Watching my father laugh at all the jokes and happy that he is seeing it with a smile, makes it worthwhile and in a sense Christmas is a time when family bond so despite the fact this is a silly comedy, it does carry a greater significance.