Functioning as both a reboot of, and a sequel to, the original 1983 Vacation movie, this relentlessly low-brow “family” comedy generates a decent chuckle here and there, but relies too heavily on gross-out gags to qualify as a genuine success.
Ed Helms plays the grown-up Rusty Griswald, who now has a wife (Christina Applegate) and two young sons of his own. Despite enduring hell attempting the very same journey there as a boy, Rusty is determined to take his family on a road trip across America to visit amusement park Wally World in California.
A little more ready to break away from reality than its inspiration, the new Vacation centers far too many of its jokes around puke and poop. Which can get a little tiresome, unless you love jokes about poop and puke.
The fifth actor to play Rusty Griswald, Helms proves a game lead, and his mawkish charms carry the film a long way. Applegate is also appealing, and some moderately progressive character tropes are explored with their meek eldest son James (Skyler Gisondo).
Original star Chevy Chase shows up late in the movie, but appears wholly uninterested, dampening the denouement considerably.
Low-brow doesn’t have to mean low-laugh rate. But in this case, there’s more poop than punch.