National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

The third installment of the Griswold family saga is a significant improvement over their previous vacation (National Lampoon’s European Vacation). Disaster-prone dad (Chevy Chase) discovers just how dangerous the Christmas season really is, as the Griswolds’ old-fashioned holiday celebration turns out to be more “Bah! Humbug!” than Christmas cheer. Chase is right at home with the outrageous slapstick and often cheerfully tasteless humor, and John Hughes’s script is stuffed full of classic Christmas movie references, but Randy Quaid practically steals the film as the unemployed relative with his malicious grin and mooching lifestyle. Not exactly a holiday classic and a bit spotty, but this gag-filled comedy is just obnoxious enough for the Scrooge lurking inside everyone. And fear not, a happy ending awaits all. Watch for future star Juliette Lewis as Chase’s teenage daughter.

Run Time: 97

Rating: PG-13

Year: 1989