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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Do We Really Need a ‘Vacation’ Re-Boot?

As children of the ‘80s/’90s, we grew up on the Vacation movies and secretly compared our own families to the Griswold's (everyone has their own “Cousin Eddie”).

With four movies, the first in ’83, it has been 16 years since the Griswold family loaded up the sports wagon and headed out on a hilarious family adventure in Las Vegas. (Though there was apparently a straight-to-DVD, Cousin Eddie-centric Christmas Vacation sequel in 2003 that no one saw).

So in Hollywood terms the once-successful, super-nostalgic franchise is due (or overdue) for a redo. But do we really want or need a sequel/prequel/re-boot? Is this just another example of Hollywood cashing in on proven commodities and destroying our youth in the process? The cynic in me wants to make this argument, but to be honest I am excited about another Griswold family vacation.

Rumors of a new movie have swirled for years, but finally gained some traction last year when a pair of up-and-coming screenwriters was tapped to flesh out a new story. John Francis Daley (yes, Sam Weir from the spectacular Freaks & Geeks) and his writing partner Jonathan Goldstein, who together wrote Horrible Bosses and the upcoming The Incredible Burt Wonderstone – have decided to reboot the series and focus on Clark’s son, Randy - who now grown, decides to take his own family on the road for some family fun. And rumor has it that Wally World, as seen in the original, will once again be the destination.

And even better, the delightful Ed Helms is set to play the adult Randy and the Griswold parents (now grandparents) played by Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo are likely to make an appearance (I mean, they better! They did those awful Old Navy commercials last year, so why not?). Helms makes a quality choice for a modern day, well-meaning, but utterly hopeless Papa Griswold (despite what the writers have done to his once lovable, now dickish character recently on The Office). Daley and Goldstein are on board now to make their directorial debut on the film as well. Filming is set to begin this summer.

But again, I ask: Is this necessary? Is this wanted? Sure it will make some money (Hollywood’s only concern), but will it be funny and worthy of the beloved Vacation-name (the fans’ only concern)?

I like all four films, though I admit the quality was not always there. Vacation and Christmas Vacation are certifiable classics (though I am apparently not quite as high on the holiday one as everyone else), but European Vacation and Vegas Vacation both have their ups-and-downs, lovers-and-detractors (I personally prefer Vegas of the two).

And lest we not forget, the original three films were written by the late, great John Hughes (and based on his own short story "Vacation '58')  – though ace comedy man Harold Ramis directed. The man that defined a generation may roll over in his grave if people start exploiting some of his most beloved characters.

Now having said all of that, I am still on board for another Vacation, but we will truly see once a more detailed plot description, casting, and even a trailer finally comes out. So what do you think? You down to take another Vacation?

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