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National Lampoon's Vegas Vacation (DVD) Review
One of the funniest movies of 1997, Vegas Vacation lives up to the high standard of comic relief expected from this ongoing series by National Lampoon. Although on the low end of hilarity when compared to Vacation, European Vacation, and Christmas Vacation, the film is nonetheless a non-stop, belly-laughing comedy in its own right. After all, how can we expect anything to live up to the genius of a perfect comedy like Christmas Vacation? Complete with a brand new set of children, Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo once again form an onscreen comedy duo that is simply magical.
When Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) gets a large bonus as a company reward for inventing a new food preservative, he and his wife Ellen (Beverly D'Angelo) decide that the money would best be spent on a good old-fashioned family vacation. But when kids Rusty (Ethan Embry) and Audrey (Marisol Nichols) bicker over the destination, the only place that gets unanimous reviews from the family is a Las Vegas vacation.
Flying to Vegas, the family experiences a series of pitfalls that threatens to tear them apart forever. Clark becomes a gambling addict (even gambling on rock-paper-scissors and a guy doing a "I'm thinking of a number between one and ten" routine at a low-rent casino), Ellen becomes the target of Wayne Newton's seduction, underage Rusty becomes a gambling superstar under the false identity of Nicholas Pappagiorgio, and Audrey tries her hand in exotic dancing after a rendezvous with her stripper cousin Vicki… Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) makes another show-stealing performance as the redneck, dumber-than-a-doorknob relative, and he shadows Clark around the casinos generously imbibing his beverage of choice - a thirty-ounce can of Busch Light.
The funniest scenes in the film involve Eddie (as always) and his trailer trash family, now living in a trailer on a parcel of land Eddie purchased cheap because it's a burial ground for nuclear waste. And Rusty's various exploits under the alias of Nic Pappagiorgio are extremely amusing. Meeting up with a group of quasi-mafia, professional gamblers, Rusty enjoys the massages, comp suites, and various frills associated with the biggest names in the business. Vegas Vacation is just downright funny. If you liked the earlier films, don't miss this one.
Continuing the stellar reputation of the Vacation film series, Vegas Vacation is pure entertainment fun from beginning to end. Chevy Chase is up to his usual antics, and Wayne Newton turns in a classic performance in his role as Griswold home-wrecker. Family friendly, Vegas Vacation is a comedy made for both parents and children alike. And its role as yet another show-stopper in the long-line of Griswold comedies makes Vegas Vacation a definite must-see.
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