FW MOVIE PICK: VEGAS VACATION

Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Ethan Embry, and Marisol Nichols in Vegas Vacation (1997)

Wow Las Vegas, there’s plenty of R-rated ventures we can go with in this setting in the fourth installment of the “National Lampoon’s Vacation” film series, but no this train-wreck for some reason got a freaking PG rating! The Griswolds are off on a family outing to Las Vegas, where they each have their own misadventures. Hapless dad Clark Griswold immediately starts losing money at blackjack, while his wife, Ellen, develops a crush on lounge performer Wayne Newton. Elsewhere, young Rusty is enthusiastically playing dice, and his sister, Audrey, winds up in seedy nightclubs. Can the family reunite and stay out of trouble? Starring Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo and Randy Quaid, with Ethan Embry and Marisol Nichols as Griswold children Rusty and Audrey. In Vegas Vacation, both Rusty and Audrey are in their late teens to which Clark tells the kids, “I hardly recognize you anymore!” The next shot freezes for a moment on the kids sitting silently, making fun of the discontinuity; but joking aside I found them to be the worst iterations of the characters (however I would later appreciate Marisol Nichols in “Riverdale”). In a callback to the still better first film; Clark once again drives alongside the same woman (again played by Brinkley), asking “remember me?” After she responds that she does, Clark spots a baby in the backseat of her car, clearly indicating she’s now a mom and possibly married, much to Clark’s disappointment; this is probably one of the few best scenes in this crappy sequel. Eddie and Catherine Johnson; Clark’s redneck cousins who get on his nerves once again return but aren’t as funny as they used to be. Overall this is a family road trip movie that ruined the franchise and practically ruined Chevy Chase’s career to some degree!

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