National Lampoon's
Christmas Vacation

directed by Jeremy S. Chechik
(Warner Brothers, 1989)

The hapless Griswold family is once more on vacation, and Clark is determined that this year, his family is going to have the biggest, best, most wonderful old-fashioned family Christmas that they have ever had.

But this is Clark Griswold, we're talking about, and almost from the first frame (even the opening animation!), things go wrong. There's the incident with the rednecks that ends up with the Griswold family car driving along under a semi. There's the descent of all the in-laws all at once. There's the "sappy" Christmas tree. There are 25,000 imported Italian twinkle lights that must be checked one bulb at a time. There's Aunt Bethany's cat. And then, there's Cousin Eddie.

And yet, through it all, Clark slogs on with a grin, determined to make things go right.

Chevy Chase is great as Clark Griswold, giving him just the right touches of jollity and mania. Beverly D'Angelo once more undertakes the role of the long-suffering Ellen Griswold. Randy Quaid plays the gross Cousin Eddie, who really does have "more heart than he has brains."

If you've seen any of the Vacation movies, you know that they all have basically the same story-line, but this one is the funniest. We can all relate to the weird presents from relatives, the desire to have the biggest and the brightest of everything, and the need to decorate the house with so many strands of Christmas lights that the electric company sends a personal Christmas greeting.

Christmas Vacation is readily available for either rental or sale, and is the perfect movie to watch to relieve the stresses brought on by the season. And remember to watch for my favorite scene, when the house decorations finally light up, backed by The Hallelujah Chorus!

[ by Laurie Thayer ]

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