Critics Consensus

Borrowing a basic storyline from the film that inspired it but forgetting the charm, wit, and heart, Vacation is yet another nostalgia-driven retread that misses the mark.



Reviews Counted: 168

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 37,771


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.1/5

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Movie Info

Ed Helms stars in the New Line Cinema reboot of the Vacation film series as Rusty Griswald, the son of Chevy Chase's iconic character of the original four films. Horrible Bosses' helmers John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein write and direct. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi

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Ed Helms
as Rusty Griswald
Christina Applegate
as Debbie Griswold
Leslie Mann
as Audrey Griswold
Chevy Chase
as Clark Griswold
Beverly D'Angelo
as Ellen Griswold
Skyler Gisondo
as James Griswold
Steele Stebbins
as Kevin Griswold
Chris Hemsworth
as Stone Crandall
Keegan-Michael Key
as Jack Peterson
Regina Hall
as Nancy Peterson
Tim Heidecker
as Utah Cop
Nick Kroll
as Colorado Cop
Kaitlin Olson
as Arizona Cop
Michael Peña
as New Mexico Cop
Emyri Crutchfield
as Sheila Peterson
Alkoya Brunson
as Gary Peterson
Hannah Davis
as Ferrari Girl
David Clennon
as Harry Co-Pilot
Kirstin Ford
as Mom on Plane
Ethan Maher
as Boy on Plane
Nadine Avola
as Chelsea
Valerie Payton
as Shuttle Driver
O'Clair Alexander
as Husky Lady at Monument
Miles Doleac
as Man at Monument
Holly Gardner
as Woman at Monument
R.F. Daley
as Furious Husband
Elizabeth Fendrick
as Furious Wife
Michael H. Cole
as Male Guest
Brooke Jaye Taylor
as Female Guest
Matthew Cornwell
as Male Guest #2
Mitchell Warren
as Walley World Kid #2
John Francis Daley
as Ride Operator
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News & Interviews for Vacation

Critic Reviews for Vacation

All Critics (168) | Top Critics (36)

  • At least the National Lampoon films were memorable, which is more than can be said for the misbegotten and instantly forgettable Vacation.

    Aug 20, 2015 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…

    Wendy Ide

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • It's similar to the recent comedy We're the Millers, with Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston in the dad and mom roles. That had more laughs and more heart.

    Aug 20, 2015 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Go home, Vacation. You're drunk.

    Aug 20, 2015 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • I'm all for bawdy, politically incorrect, wildly inappropriate humor -- when there are consistent and genuine laughs to be mined from the material.

    Aug 13, 2015 | Rating: 1/4
  • You can't do much worse at the movies than Vacation.

    Aug 5, 2015 | Full Review…
  • There's so much dead air in the film that I wondered whether punchlines had been cleaved out to secure a PG-13 rating, but no: it's a hard, inexplicable R.

    Jul 31, 2015 | Rating: 0/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Vacation


Thanks to all the bad reviews... I was not expecting much so the laugh out loud moments were even sweeter because I felt I was "getting" something others missed! Fun movie!

Thomas Johnston
Thomas Johnston

Super Reviewer

Uneven and badly written, Vacation features a few laugh-out-loud moments but in the end leaves you wondering, "What was the point of all of that?" There was no point. This film shouldn't have been made.

Matthew Samuel Mirliani
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

Vacation has a scene early in the film where Rusty (Ed Helms) and his family have a conversation where the main topic is a pretty much breaking the third wall, discussing how this Vacation will stand on its own and won't need the previous vacation to work. While watching this scene the red flags shot up. And it turns out, those red flags that pop up from time to time are correct. The plot of Vacation is exactly the same as its 1983 predecessor. Rusty wants to take his family to Wally World to bring the family closer together. They run into comedic misadventures. They almost give up on the Wally World dream. There are notable changes, mainly in what the writers feel are upgrades from the original film. Instead of dog urine on a sandwich this film gives us swimming in raw sewage. Cousin Eddie has been replaced by the beefy weatherman brother-in-law. Of course most of these fall flat in the film, but they tried. Am I right? Not really. This is pure paint by numbers that doesn't have the heart of the original film. The biggest difference is between Ed Helms and Chevy Chase. Chevy Chase's role of the family patriarch showed him as doing dumb things. Ed Helm's version is playing him as a dumb individual. That's the huge difference. Clark did some stupid things in the original film, but I don't see him leading them to a swim in sewage. Which leads to a revelation during the last fifteen minutes of the film that just pops up, yet is fixed in the same scene. You could have made the film without this conflict and it would have been the same. The fact that this issue isn't really presented during the film, even when dumb things are happening just insults the intelligence of the audience. It's like introducing a character mentioned only in passing earlier in a mystery novel to play the villain. Bleh. Vacation has a few laughs, put misses as a whole. Someone would be better off watching the original film in its place. There's no real soul to this film. Probably the best part of the original film was that viewers could relate to going on vacations like the one shown in the film. This film is the exact opposite. It feels like a vacation that grew from a screenwriters head and not any kind of life experience. This is a flat remake.

Chris Garman
Chris Garman

Super Reviewer

The National Lampoon's franchise is a strange beast that includes a wide variety of movies that range from downright cult classics, to utter bottom of the barrel dross. Aside from the odd one or two, the main movies within the franchise have to be the Vacation flicks which have become the epitome of pure 80's Americana and beyond. The original trilogy consisting of a road trip movie, a holiday abroad and being at home for Christmas, literately resonates with everyone (of a certain age perhaps) and never fails to please. They fit right in at the right times, you can't go wrong at Christmas with 'Christmas Vacation'. Now the big question is, could this new movie (sequel/reboot) manage to hold its own, or would it fall into a pit of pathetic fan service and rehashed gags from the originals? Well everything starts off perfectly, how can it fail not too with that classic rock tune 'Holiday Road'. Yes that sounds like they are just rehashing but lets be honest here, how can you not have that song, its a must, 15 love to the movie. So a nostalgic, rose tinted ripple thundered its way through my body as the credits fired up and you get that familiar montage of family photos/images through the years. So far everything looked good, they seemed to have the right vibe going, that is until we see Ed Helms as a grown-up Rusty and the first visual gag. Basically Rusty is an airline pilot and has stepped out of the cab for a moment, he greets a young boy and his parents. Suddenly the plane hits some turbulence and Rusty's hands are thrown onto the mothers boobies, turbulence hits again and his face hits the child's crotch. This really did feel kinda creepy and childish, not that I am expecting intelligent humour here but also gave us the first of a tonne of profanity. Did the original movies use so much profanity? no, the odd word, one or two, but no, it they didn't need to, so why is this full of it? Alas everything goes down hill pretty fast from this point (in my view). For starters, its not too long after that we discover the plot is just another road trip to Wally World (ugh!). Admittedly there is a reasonably funny scene where the characters address this rehash by making fun of the reboot notion, claiming it won't be the same shit as before but something entirely new etc...Clever, but unfortunately they lied, because the film is pretty much the same as the original (ugh!!). Alongside the miscast Helms as Rusty there is Christina Applegate as his wife, never a great sign as Applegate is pretty much a B-list/B-movie actress, and two young lads as their sons (amazed there were no young daughters). One of the boys is small, very rude and obnoxious, he swears a lot which is not a funny as it sounds. The other is the older of the two, bigger, but very effeminate, this guy wasn't too bad and had some decent laughs with his wimpiness. There are also some big cameos in the form of Chris Hemsworth as Audrey's husband who is just some stereotypical jock cowboy type, and of course we see Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo reprising their roles but not really doing or offering much at the same time. Supposedly a passing of the torch setup, but I'm not overly sure if we're getting anymore of these soooo... Most everything else we see is merely rehashed from the older better movies I'm afraid, its amazing how Hollywood just never learns. We get another sexy girl in a red Ferrari, sure there's a twist for her, but who cares, still the same bloody joke. Even one of the young boys gets a sexy girl of his age in another car setup, just like the Ferrari girl, I mean come on! The plot does resemble the plot layout of the original movie, with the same type of stop overs and the same type of basic story arc, but of course being 2015 the subplots are more relevant. But again its all predictable stuff such as a really dirty, unhygienic motel, some sort of frat house party scenario, the weird foreign car, a crazy trucker (ala 'Duel'), running out of gas in the middle of nowhere and trying to have sex unsuccessfully. Things become really forced and desperate when at one point, Clark and Ellen give Rusty their old Wagon Queen Family Truckster to continue the road trip. Apparently the same Wagon Queen Family Truckster from the original movie, or so it appears. Just in case you forgot this was a National Lampoon's sequel/reboot and they managed to squeeze every last drop of nostalgia into this project. Why would they still even have that car?? This movie has moments of decent entertainment that hark back to the good old days but overall its just a very very average film. I really didn't like the excessive profanity which is peppered throughout, including the soundtrack, I really thought it was unnecessary. There is also quite a bit of gore and hints at gore which again kinda felt unnecessary for this type of flick, they really seemed to go far too adult orientated here. It just felt like they ditched the original charm and made everything more...vile, if I can use that word without sounding too extreme. Pretty big swing and miss for me, you can't just rely on the epic main title tune and two cameos.

Phil Hubbs
Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

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