National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Rating: 14/20 (Jen: 14/20; Dylan: 13/20; Emma: 8/20; Abbey: 15/20)
Plot: Clark Griswold has family over for the holidays and tries his best to give them the perfect Christmas. Meanwhile, he awaits his Christmas bonus check so that he can feel more comfortable about the deposit he put on a backyard pool. Things unravel slapstickily.
This was never one of my favorites though I've seen it countless times. Like the superior A Christmas Story, there's a very thin plot that's really only there to hold together the series of gags. I'm not sure any of those gags--the Christmas lights, the recurring snooty neighbor torture, the electrocuted cat, the attic imprisonment, the Christmas feast, etc.--are all that great, but they add up to something that will make most people laugh a few times around Christmas time. I'm not sure that Chevy Chase was ever as likable as he was as Clark Griswold. That's not to say he was all that likable though. Things threaten to get stale early on in this one, but Randy Quaid swoops in to save the day and steals pretty much every scene he's in. And then there's the very best thing about Christmas Vacation--the great William Hickey as Uncle Lewis. He and Aunt Bethany bring this thing to life again after it starts to lose steam again. All in all, this isn't a bad comedy to spend Christmas with if you can only tolerate a little irrelevancy and typically enjoy that characters-stepping-on-boards-and-hitting-themselves-in-the-face-and/or-testicles style of humor.