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National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (DVD, 2007, Special Edition)
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The Griswold Family Has an Interesting Christmas in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Dec 24, 2003 (Updated Sep 19, 2008)
Review by Marie Dragonfire
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Cons:Could be too silly for some people
The Bottom Line: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is a funny, entertaining Christmas movie that has become a holiday favorite.
Over the years, I have seen all of the National Lampoon Vacation movies featuring the Griswold family and their disastrous vacations. I have liked some of them more than others. I first saw National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation in the theater when the movie was released. I've seen it several times since then and recently picked up the DVD of the movie.
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The movie started off with an animated opening showing Santa attempting to deliver presents to the Griswold house. Santa had bad luck with that stop. The Griswold family was driving to get their Christmas tree. Clark and Ellen were singing Christmas songs. Rusty and Audrey were sitting in the backseat looking bored. Clark was determined to find the perfect tree, and had the family hiking all over. They ended up with a tree that was entirely too large for the house.
Clark was planning a huge family Christmas with his parents and Ellen's. Clark expected to get a bonus, and he was planning to use it to put in a pool. Rusty and Ellen both expressed concern that Clark was going to go overboard with things. After the parents arrived, Clark started to decorate the house and had some problems with the lights. He did go overboard with the lights. Audrey was very unhappy that the grandparents were staying with them.
Things didn't go like Clark planned. He ended up stuck in the attic at one point. His neighbors, Todd and Margo, were always making some kind of comment when they were coming or going. They weren't pleasant people. Just as Clark finally got the lights working, Cousin Eddie and Catherine showed up as a surprise. They arrived in a dumpy RV. They had two of their children, Rocky and Ruby Sue with them. Clark wasn't happy to see Cousin Eddie. Clark was worried because his bonus hadn't arrived yet. The closer it got to Christmas, the more things that seemed to go wrong. More relatives were expected on Christmas Eve. Clark had a minor fit at one time, and then flipped out in a big way later. Eddie acted on something Clark said during his fit and did something really stupid.
Chevy Chase - Clark Griswold
Beverly D'Angelo - Ellen Griswold
Juliette Lewis - Audrey
John Galecki - Rusty
John Randolph - Clark Sr
Diane Ladd - Nora Griswold
E.G. Marshall - Art
Doris Roberts - Frances
Randy Quaid - Cousin Eddie
Miriam Flynn - Catherine
Cody Burger - Rocky
Ellen Hamilton Latzen - Ruby Sue
Nicholas Guest - Todd
Julia Louis-Dreyfus - Margo
Jeremiah S. Chechik - Director
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation was released in 1989. The movie is 97 minutes long and rated PG-13. It is edited when it turns up on tv. The movie is available on VHS and DVD.
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is one of four National Lampoon's Vacation movies featuring the Griswold family and their bad luck with vacations. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation was the third movie to be made. The first movie, National Lampoon's Vacation, introduced the family and showed them traveling across the country to visit Wally World. In the second movie, National Lampoon's European Vacation, the family won a trip to Europe and visited several countries. In the fourth movie, Vegas Vacation, the family traveled to Las Vegas after Clark got a big bonus. This family has the worst luck with their vacations. Anything that could go wrong does, plus several things I never imagined would happen. The movies are different, but they do have similarities. Clark has very high expectations for whatever he has planned for the family, and he flips out at least once after things start going wrong. It is entertaining to watch Clark flip out. The family has some kind of misadventure in a car in each movie. The scene at the beginning of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation where Clark and Ellen are singing Christmas songs reminded me of a similar scene from National Lampoon's Vacation. They had just started their cross-country drive, and Clark and Ellen were singing songs while Rusty and Audrey looked bored in the backseat.
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation was a funny Christmas movie. Clark planned to have a perfect Christmas for his family, but things didn't go that way. The things that went wrong were really funny. Clark was his usual bumbling self, which led to some of the funnier moments in the movie. Cousin Eddie made me laugh just by turning up at times. I thought that the animated opening was funny as well. This was one of the funnier Vacation movies.
I do like National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, but it isn't really a typical Christmas movie. It isn't happy all the time. There were a few things that happened that were in bad taste. There was swearing in the movie, including an appearance of the word that rhymes with luck. Clark really let loose with the swearing at one point, but it wasn't as extreme as in some other movies. There wasn't anything too bad in this movie, but some things could offend some viewers. I don't think this is a movie for younger children, but it could be all right for older children. At one point in the movie, Clark was out shopping for lingerie for Ellen. He was all but drooling over the young, attractive woman that was helping him in the store. He did hit on her a bit. This is not the first time Clark has drooled over a beautiful woman in one of the movies. Later in the movie he fantasized about the woman from the store. Some of the things Clark said to the woman and daydreamed about could offend some people. Those things may not be the best for children to see either. There weren't any sex scenes in this movie. Clark and Ellen were shown in their bed, but they were discussing their plans for Christmas and nothing happened.
In National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Cousin Eddie and his wife Catherine turned up again. They were also in the first movie, and in Vegas Vacation. They were missing from National Lampoon's European Vacation. Eddie is just funny to me. For the most part, he wanders around doing stupid things, but is oblivious that he is doing stupid things. He wears some unique looking outfits at times as well. For most of the returning characters, the same actors returned as well. Someone different has played Audrey and Rusty in every movie. I thought that Rusty looked younger than he has been in the previous two movies. Audrey looked to be a little older. I have never been sure of exactly how old Rusty and Audrey are. I think Audrey said something about her little brother in this movie, but I can't remember for sure now. I've never been that sure of who was older either. It looked like there was more of an age difference between them in this movie. Rusty and Audrey seemed to be in a little less of the movie this time. I did think that Audrey was less annoying than she was in National Lampoon's European Vacation. She really grated on my nerves in that one. I am glad that someone else played Audrey. Other members of the Griswold family, including Clark's in-laws, were involved in the Christmas celebration, so there were several new characters. Todd and Margo, neighbors of the Griswolds, turned up a few times. Some neighbors turned up very briefly at the beginning of Vacation as the family was leaving. I don’t remember any neighbors showing up in National Lampoon's European Vacation or Vegas Vacation.
I thought that the acting in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation was fine. Chevy Chase was really funny as Clark, especially when he lost it. Beverly D'Angelo was good as Ellen. She was believable as a wife trying to keep her husband from going overboard. I love Randy Quaid as Cousin Eddie. He is so funny in the part. I did think that Juliette Lewis was a better Audrey than whoever had the part in European Vacation. She didn’t have too many scenes, but she wasn't as whiney and annoying, even though she did complain a bit. Everyone else in the movie was good.
Clark Griswold - He was planning a huge Christmas celebration. He had big plans for a bonus he expected to get from work. He tended to over do things for family vacations and celebrations. He did love his family. He did have a tendency to flip out when things didn’t go the way he planned.
Ellen Griswold - Clark's wife. She tried to keep him from going overboard with things, but it didn't always work. She was the calm and level-headed one in the marriage, and she had to calm Clark down at times. She did get annoyed with him at times.
Audrey Griswold - Clark and Ellen’s daughter. She wasn&'t happy about the plans for Christmas.
Rusty Griswold - Clark and Ellen&'s son. He seemed to like annoying his sister. He was also concerned that his dad was going overboard.
Cousin Eddie - He was married to Ellen's cousin. He hadn't worked for a long time. He did stupid things at times and didn't seem to realize that what he did was stupid. He didn't realize that some people weren't happy to see him.
Catherine - Eddie&'s wife and Ellen's cousin. She loved her husband and didn't really complain about their life even though it could have been a lot better.
I now own the DVD of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. The movie was in the widescreen format. The picture and sound were both very clear. There weren't many extras though. There is a commentary with the director and some of the cast. The Cast and Crew option listed some of the cast members and which character they played. A few members of the crew were also mentioned. The theatrical trailer is also on the DVD to watch. That is it for extras. I did notice something that was a little different about this DVD - at least for me. I put the DVD in and I was doing a few things before I sat down to watch it. The main menu came up, and then after about a minute, the movie just started by itself. I have seen some that automatically start playing the movie without going to a menu, but I’ve never had one go to a menu and then start like that.
I do enjoy watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Now that I have the DVD, I'm sure I'll watch it every year around Christmas. It does turn up on tv, usually in December, but I prefer being able to watch it without commercials.
Vacation Movie Reviews
National Lampoon's Vacation ~ National Lampoon's European Vacation ~ Vegas Vacation ~
Christmas Movie Reviews
Bad Santa ~ Christmas with the Kranks ~ Deck the Halls ~ Die Hard ~ Die Hard 2: Die Harder ~ Elf ~ The Family Stone ~ Fred Claus ~ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) ~ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) ~ The Ice Harvest ~ Just Friends ~ Lethal Weapon ~ The Muppet Christmas Carol ~ The Nightmare Before Christmas ~ The Polar Express ~ The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause ~
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