Jeff's Reviews

Thoughts on every movie I've ever seen.

Vegas Vacation (1997)

Directed by Stephen Kessler

Starring Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Randy Quaid, Ethan Embry


Pretty much on par with National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Both films suffered from MCS (Modern Comedy Syndrome). Bad writing, overacting, edging toward slapstick, too many close-ups and too much editing. In short, none of the subtleties that made Chevy and his Vacation films of the 1980’s so good. People like the Jim Carrey, Chris Farley, in your face kind of humor nowadays. In Vegas Vacation, the audience didn’t laugh at the subtleties. They DID laugh at the slapstick. Chevy hosted an episode of “Saturday Night Live” when this film was released, and it was disorienting, He seemed so out of place. There just isn’t a place for him in today’s comedy.

Kind of a cheesy story, with no real conflict. Kind of a deus en machina cop-out to resolve the whole gambled-all-our-money-away issue. A few decent moments (Chevy’s blister, birthmark, tetanus lines). A few cool tie-ins with the original Vacation. Hearing the old, familiar song (“Holiday Road”?) was cool. This film was probably ruined with the decision to make it dumb and PG for kids (more profitable) rather than intelligent and more risque like the older, R-rated Vacation films. This one’s just not as witty as the older ones. And not only that, but all of the performances are so tightly scripted and bound to the crappy story that there’s no room for improv, one of Chevy’s great strengths.

Really nice seeing Chevy again. Is Chevy losing his facial coordination (expressions) and quick-speaking ability or is bad writing putting him in dumb situations which not even he can make funny? Is he done? After watching “Saturday Night Live,” I think that Chevy CAN hold his own given good writing. But he IS getting old, and he is slowly losing his facial coordination, quick-talking ability, and improvisational skills.

Rusty is pretty good but tries to steal the show, which sucks for Chevy and the movie as a whole. Audrey is just something for the horny audience to look at.

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