The new Vacation came out of Las Vegas CinemaCon with real heat, screening a sizzle reel for theater owners and distributors that got the industry excited for the July comedy. Here with a sampling of what they saw is the totally NSFW red-band Vacation trailer, complete with Chris Hemsworth’s gigantic penis.
What you’ll notice, right off the bat, is that this new Vacation, written and directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein, embraces the legacy of the original National Lampoon’s Vacation, opening with footage from the 1983 comedy. We then learn that this will be a natural sequel to the original, and not a reboot, as some might have thought.
Ed Helms, then, plays Rusty Griswold, the version of the character played by Anthony Michael Hall opposite Chevy Chase in 1983. There are a few meta jokes about how those who don’t know the first Vacation can still enjoy this, and how the new movie will stand on its own. After that, we’re off to the races. In an effort to recapture the magic of his favorite family vacation, Rusty (Helms) piles his brood into their car for a cross-country trip to – where else? – Wally World.
Along the way, we get a number of jokes that borrow directly from the original film, or feel like they are in the same tone as the first Vacation film. Seeing the Griswold family bathing in fecal matter? That has the makings of a National Lampoon’s movie. Remember when a dog peed on Clark’s sandwich? Toilet jokes tend to get a laugh. Then there’s the supermodel-in-a-sports-car gag, only this one ends much differently. (I though that was Derek Jeter’s girlfriend, Sports Illustrated model Hannah Davis, behind the wheel, but she isn’t credited on IMDB, so maybe not?)
From the looks of Vacation, it wants to model itself after the in-on-the-joke tone of the 21 Jump Street movies, which openly acknowledge that they are delivering one thing (a reboot) while playfully tweaking our expectations. More than anything, this movie needs to remind us why we liked the first Vacation, making Rusty Griswold a Clark-esque anti-hero… a suburban shlub who is TRYING to do right by his family, even though he can’t really get out of his own way.
Vacation heads down Holiday Road and to a theater near you on July 29.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.