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DVD Reviews: National Lampoons Christmas Vacation

The Final Say!

Feature Score:
DVD Extras Score

Reviewed by Alex Cuming
Review Date: 15 May 2003
Distributed by:
Warner Home Entertainment

The crazy Griswald family are at it again, this time to wreak havoc at one of the most notorious times of the year, Christmas.  Clark (Chevy Chase) is determined to make it a happy one that the whole family plus the extended family will enjoy to their utmost.  Of course to typical Griswald style everything goes wrong and ends up being the Christmas from hell. 

The Griswalds are based on an American stereotypical family, with old-fashioned values of family unity, harmony and pride.  The Griswalds have been a basis of characters for many films in the past.  All having the same parents (Chevy Chase and Beverley D’angelo) and also cousin Eddie but different kids.  There has been Vacation, European Vacation, and the latest being Vegas Vacation.  This outing from National Lampoons I am proud to report is one of the most amusing and funniest of the lot.   

The Griswalds are out on Vacation again this time for the Christmas holidays.  After a hazardous drive to their holiday spot out in the country.  They are greeted with their extended family to spend a far from peaceful and smooth running existence.  Helens and Clarks parents cant stop arguing, they bring animals, the kids run riot and it is a tale of never ending disaster, just the way we like it.  Clark is anticipating a Christmas bonus from work and planning to put in a swimming pool with the money. I won’t tell any more as it could spoil the element of surprise. 

The slapstick humour that we all know well from many of Chevy’s films is done to complete hilarity in this movie.  It is one of those films that after watching can be quoted and joked about amongst families for months, especially during those times when we need a good laugh about things going wrong at family gatherings.  Not that all families are like this of course (I certainly hope not!) but there are many situations that we can all identify with. Clark with all the disaster that happens is determined to stay positive no matter what happens.  This is all part of the fun, which comes by the bucket load in this film. 

The sound is clear and crisp and can be enjoyed in either pro-logic or Dolby Surround.  There is no low-level noise and the picture takes up the whole screen.  The presentation of the package on DVD has been enhanced by the numerous extras.  These include details on the casting and careers of all the stars in Christmas Vacation.  The behind the scenes information is informative with a touch of humour and well worth a look. 

Overall this film comes highly recommended to any fan of the series.  Having seen every National Lampoons Vacation movies I kinda know about the dynamics and understand the sense humour that these films attempts to convey.  Recommended to anyone who loves comedies.

National Lampoons Christmas Vacation Features

  • Scene Selections
  • Cast & Crew
  • Behind the Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailer


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