Main      Site Guide    

It's a Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad Movie

Reader Review

National Lampoon's Vegas Vacation

Posted by: jayare
Date Submitted: Saturday, April 3, 1999 at 07:29:00
Date Posted: Monday, April 5, 1999 at 13:04:04

Ah, the joys of being a Saturday Night Live alum. Apparently, no matter how far removed you are from appearing on the show or how poorly your career has gone since (which, I believe, must be a directly proportional relationship), some idiot in Hollywood still believes that you will add name recognition and star power to his/her production. (Of course, Bill Murray proves to be the exception here, "The Razor's Edge" notwithstanding.) I can just envision the scene now in the boardroom of some Hollywood exec, trying to cast "My Stepmother Is A Spy Like Us Going On Vacation With Three Amigos II" when suddenly a brilliant flash of insight overwhelms him: "What about (fill in name of washed-up Saturday Night Live actor, days removed from collecting Social Security)? He was funny in (fill in name of film which appeared in very early 80's and was somewhat successful), so why not get him? I'm sure he's not busy."

Thus "National Lampoon's Vegas Vacation" was born, starring (never has the word been so grossly overused) Chevy Chase, the de-facto king of Saturday Night Live has-beens. (I say de-facto with the understanding that Dan Aykroyd has only moderately redeemed himself with "Grosse Pointe Blank." Otherwise, we have a biumvirate.) Apparently and inexplicably, the National Lampoon's Vacation franchise had been doing reasonably well financially up until this film, and given Hollywood's penchant for milking even the most barren of cash cows dry, someone must have thought that squeezing another installment out of this series was a good idea. Not since "Beyond the Poseidon Adventure" or "Jaws IV" has someone been so wrong.

I won't trouble you with plot, since no one bothered to develop one when writing this script. The Vacation films have never been nothing more than an excuse to show how gravity, time, and other natural forces of physics affect the human body while foisting upon the public the notion that Chevy Chase + Car + Distance + Beverly D'Angelo + Two Obnoxious Kids + Chase/Kidnapping/Accidents + Randy Quaid = FUNNY! The problem with "Vegas Vacation" is that the first three films added another element to this equation: "Energy," which is sorely missing here. Not only do Chase and D'Angelo (and pretty much everyone on screen which happen to pass through our field of vision -- even the extras) look tired and lifeless, but the script, direction, production, soundtrack, best boy, gaffer, Las Vegas itself, and...I believe even the guys who sold me popcorn before the show...all seemed to be in desperate need of oxygen. I truly believe card board cutouts of everyone involved would have sufficed, because if it weren't for the breeze that occasionally happened by during this shoot, nobody would have moved. No energy wasted here, because none was ever used, except by the audience to stay awake and/or interested. I think I actually used 60 calories to check my pulse continually to make sure I was still among the survivors.

But I have taken up enough of your time. Why should I steal a precious 80 minutes from your life the way this movie stole from mine? Because I want vengeance. I want vengeance against the person who continues to hire former Saturday Night Live actors in the hopes that dupes like me will buy into their devious scheme to flood the world with mediocrity based on the idea that once-upon-a-time, these actors cared about quality. That somewhere in the dim past, these actors had a bright future and weren't just a collection of annoying ticks, goofy facial expressions, bumbling pratfalls, or gimmicky catch-phrases. Perhaps with this movie, I, like so many others, have learned my lesson. From now on, I will choose my films judiciously, with study and forethought. I will not give in to shameless nostalgia or advertising. I will remain resolute, firm in the notion that no film by a SNL alum can amount to anything.

By the way, I really want to see "Rushmore." Anybody want to go?

Response From RinkWorks:

Hey, I liked this movie! Well, in that stupid Chevy Chase look-at-me-I'm-a-doofus-and-I-don't-know-it kind of way.

Save your venom for the endless string of David Spade/Chris Farley movies that are all exactly the same. Only the death of Farley put an end to these monstrosities of the theater.

Back to the It's a Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad Movie home page.