Retro Review: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

For this month’s ‘Retro Review’ it was only logical that it should be a Christmas film, therefore I would like to share with you my review of the 1989 film, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

First off, here’s a little reminder of my self imposed rules…

  1. Should be a first time viewing
  2. More than 5 years since its original release.
  3. Must watch in full.

Director: Jeremiah S. Chechik

Starring: Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Juliette Lewis, Johnny Galecki

Tagline: Yule Crack Up!

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)
Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images – © 2012 Getty Images

It’s that wonderful time of the year and Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) has got the Christmas spirit. With the promise of a big Christmas bonus, he gets to planning a special festive celebration with all the family. From choosing the perfect tree, decorating the house and cooking the turkey, he’s determined to have the best Christmas ever but in true Griswold fashion things don’t quite go to plan.

This was not just my first viewing of Christmas Vacation but also my foray into the whole National Lampoon franchise however, unfortunately for all you Lampoon fans out there, I did not enjoy this one at all. I feel as though my enjoyment of films like this suffers in part because I don’t have fond childhood memories to fall back on.

Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo in 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation' (1989)

The main problem for me is that slapstick is not really my kind of humour at all. Usually I can look past that if the story is good but unfortunately in this case the story felt practically non-existent, it’s almost as if they took a load of outtakes and spliced them all together.

The accidents and mishaps were obvious and far too predictable, the characters were a little one dimensional and I felt no emotional connection to them at all.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)

The biggest disappointment, or confusion, for me was that the family name was Griswold not Lampoon. Maybe I am missing something because I am not familiar with the franchise as a whole but where does ‘National Lampoon’ comes from?

Hope you all have a great Christmas!

Until next time…. x

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