When deciding whether to watch a movie, there's a risk of being swayed by reviews written by viewers whose taste just doesn't match yours. What happened to me when this film first came out is that I read a number of hateful reviews from people who moaned how inferior this remake was to the original National Lampoon's Vacation.
I'm glad I finally got to see it, because it might be the funniest thing I've seen all year. In fact I dare most people to watch both movies with a straight face (starting with the sequel) and tell me that the original made them laugh more. I'm not going to take that challenge myself, as I had stored the 1983 film in the "Watch Once" box — that tells me how unenthusiastic I was, and I don't see a reason to make myself suffer.
The plot? A man takes his family on a cross-country vacation, where everything goes wrong. I can't say that I couldn't stop laughing, but there were some fantastic moments and I was definitely smiling or chuckling most of the time. The main actor is Ed Helms, whom I love and who for some reason seems to be disappearing from comedy movies. In this role, he's perfect. Most of the cast also does a great job.
The moral of the story: don't be a nostalgic snob and treat yourself to this terrific remake, which in many ways probably improves on the original.