National Lampoon Christmas Vacation
Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo
Juliette Lewis, Johnny Galecki
Directed by John Hughes
Originally released 1989
Warner Home Entertainment 2009
97 minutes

Great comedy and National Lampoon are rarely heard in the same breath. The exception is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, an excellent Christmas comedy. Also known as the only really funny Chevy Chase movie, Christmas Vacation features great sight gags, comic destruction, and pratfalls associated to the Xmas season. It looks really good on Blu-ray in 1:85:1 format.

Chevy Chase is at his best pratfall, clumsy self as family man Clark Griswold who gets a bit carried away with the spirit of Christmas. His more down to earth wife Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo) keeps trying to keep him down to earth and always fails to do so. His two, played by Juliette Lewis and Johnny Galecki, are basically mopey teens but their characters rise above the cliché.

The Griswold’s relatives bring more than their share of disasters and fights. Randy Quaid is great as uber redneck cousin Eddie.

Verbal jokes are almost as numerous as sight gags and physical comedy moments in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, making for a pretty non-stop feast of funny moments.

The pressure of the holidays, various relatives and disasters, and a late bonus check all contribute to Clark Griswold finally losing it on Christmas Eve. That is when this comedy gets even better.

Of course, no Christmas comedy works without its tender moments and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation has both. There is also the requisite reference to It’s a Wonderful Life.

Some parents might object to a couple of language moments and brief suggested nudity but this is a very mild PG 13 movie.

Look for Doris Roberts (Everybody Loves Raymond) as the grandmother and Julia Louis- Dreyfus as the neighbor.

Special features on National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation are on the thin side with a commentary track featuring Johnny Galecki of Roseanne and Big Bang Theory, Beverly D’Angelo,  and a couple of others and, lo and behold, the theatrical trailer.

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