National Lampoon's Vacation is an enjoyable trip through familiar comedy landscapes.
Despite plenty of gross-out gags and dumb slapstick bits, the careful viewer can occasionally detect some acrid and original satire in this 1983 film.
The result is not so much a comedy about American values as a 2,500 mile skid on a banana skin. The visual gags come thick and fast, and are about as subtly signposted as the exit markers on a freeway.
The result is a confident humor and throwaway style that helps sustain the laughs -- of which there are quite a few.