National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

  • Review Date: December 8, 2005
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1989
  • Running Time: 97 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Silly humor for the holidays; some iffy.
  • Review Date: December 8, 2005
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1989
  • Running Time: 97 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

It is a National Lampoon film, so any specific message is secondary to crude humor and slapstick comedy. Still, it could be so much worse.

Positive role models

This movie makes all of its characters look ridiculous, but the only
negative stereotype is of a busty woman who sells lingerie in the local
mall.

Violence

Many laughs depend on mishaps like falling from ladders or traveling in a car stuck underneath a big rig, but nobody gets hurt. A pet cat, however, gets electrocuted.

Sex

Some flirting with a lingerie sales lady leads to some provocative dialogue and camera angles. Later on, she appears in a daydream stripping out of her bathing suit. The camera cuts away before she finishes.

Language

Some profanity.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Adults drink too much.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that much of the slapstick humor is obviously directed at preteens, from the cartoon opening to an impossibly high-speed sled ride, but some profanity and mild sexual references make this a questionable choice for the under-13 set. Many laughs depend on mishaps like falling from ladders or traveling in a car stuck underneath a big rig, but nobody gets hurt. A pet cat, however, gets electrocuted. The foul language is toned down a bit from the previous Vacation movies, but moderate to extreme profanities are sprinkled liberally throughout the show. This movie makes all of its characters look ridiculous, but the only negative stereotype is of a busty woman who sells lingerie in the local mall.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Clark Griswald (Chevy Chase), a hard-working father of two teens, is determined to show his family a fun-filled, old-fashioned Christmas in NATIONAL LAMPOON'S CHRISTMAS VACATION. By the time all of the in-laws and a crude second cousin show up, Clark has 25,000 lights stapled to the house and this predictable comedy is in full swing. Lowbrow, potentially offensive humor makes this best for older viewers. For a moment during the opening scene, it looks like we're going on the road again with the Griswald's. Actually, the family is just going to the country to chop down a 40-foot tree for an old fashioned Christmas at home, the first in a string of overblown escapades in Clark Griswald's quest for the perfect holiday. "I just know how you build up things in your mind," warns his loving but slightly confused wife, Ellen. But this fanatical family man won't be deterred until his miserly boss has been kidnapped and a SWAT team descends on his house to the tune of "Here Comes Santa Claus."

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

For those who enjoyed the original Vacation, this holiday edition offers virtually the same story and characters with more predictability and less help from the supporting cast. Those who found Vacation utterly tasteless will find this to be slightly (but not much) cleaner. Chevy Chase has some good moments, and those who enjoy his double-talk and pratfalls will find some redeeming value in this lukewarm movie. His frustration at 250 strings of Christmas lights and his overtures to a busty sales lady are among the movie's best moments.

The producers attracted some decent talent to act as Clark's foils, but neither the stuck-up neighbor (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), nor the disgusting second cousin (Randy Quaid), nor the boss who stiffs Clark on his Christmas bonus (Brian Doyle-Murray) generate any laughs to speak of. The Griswald kids might as well be cardboard cutouts with their eyes permanently rolled. One inherent problem parents will have with this movie is how it juxtaposes juvenile humor with sexually suggestive scenes and strings of profanity.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about sequels. Why is a sequel rarely as good as the original? 

  • Is there a temptation on the part of movie-makers to essentially repeat a winning formula? 

  • If you've seen the other Chevy Chase Vacation movies, did you find anything in this movie surprising?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 1, 1989
DVD release date:November 18, 1997
Cast:Beverly D'Angelo, Chevy Chase, Randy Quaid
Director:Jeremiah S. Chechik
Studio:Warner Home Video
Genre:Comedy
Run time:97 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:profanity and sexual situations

This review of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written byaidanqm1996 August 21, 2009
AGE
17
QUALITY
 

OH MY GOSH!!!!! TOO MUCH LANGUAGE!!!!!!

Language, language, and more language. You can barely go a scene in this movie without at least 1 profanity.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written bymannymateo10isback December 27, 2010
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

pretty okay, but not that good, its funny though!!

well it was pretty okay, but in one scene it shows a lady appears in a daydream stripping out of her bathing suit, and a camera cuts away, but the breasts almost appeared, and theres alot of profanity in here also
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Kid, 12 years old December 21, 2010
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

HILARIOUS HOLIDAY COMEDY, IF YOUR MATURE ENOUGH

This is the funniest thing ever! I watch it every Christmas and every year I end up crying it is so funny. THE LANGUAGE IS THE WORST THING ON THIS MOVIE! The f word is said once. i can't remember whether the s word was said or not. It is a funny movie that kids can most likely watch. But I would not recomend it to anone under 10. Unless they are very mature.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing

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