Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Vacation Movie Poster Image
Occasionally funny but mostly crude, rude, and forgettable.
  • R
  • 2015
  • 99 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 18 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 44 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Amid the crude/over-the-top content are some messages about steadfast marriages and the idea that vacations form lasting impressions on kids.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Rusty is a sweet and caring father who genuinely wants to lead his family on a memorable trip ... though he doesn't always make the best decisions. Other characters behave in very iffy ways (often for humor).


Kevin tackles and punches his older brother, James, and repeatedly puts a plastic bag over his head. The Griswolds end up in a fist fight with another family. Jokes about a trucker being a rapist and a pedophile. A man with a death wish ends up killing himself while rafting. A woman in a car is killed by an oncoming truck on the highway. Rusty runs over a steer with an ATV and ends up with blood on him. Most of this is played for humor.


Nudity and several references to sex, promiscuity, groping, and sex acts. A married couple attempts to have sex several times but is foiled, including once when they try to have sex publicly but are met with other couples also waiting to have sex (or in the middle of it). Quick glimpses of breasts. The outline of a man's extra-large penis is visible through his boxer briefs. Friends recall how a woman was known for "doing anything" (like performing sex acts on an administrator). A teenage boy means to ask a girl if they can kiss on the lips but inadvertently asks for a much more explicit act (he was told it meant "kissing with mouths closed"). Dirty talk like "I'm gonna pound the s--t out of you," "Why don't you plug up your ears with Mitt Romney's d--k?," etc.


Strong language in basically every scene, particularly "motherf--ker," "f--k," "f--king," "s--t," "a--hole," "p---y" (often said by the younger son in the family). Other words include "d--k," "bulls--t," "piss," "t-ts," "balls," and using "goddammit!" and "Jesus Christ!" as common exclamations.


Products/brands seen include iPad, iPhone, Facebook, Instagram, Yankee Candle, Ferrari, Nissan.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults and college students drink, and in one scene the mom chugs a pitcher of beer to do a "Chug and Run," resulting in her projectile vomiting throughout the obstacle course. Adults also drink wine at meals.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Vacation is a sequel to/reboot of the original National Lampoon's Vacation comedies. Ed Helms stars as a grown-up Rusty Griswold, who hopes to recreate the infamous road trip his own family took when he was a teen. Like the 1983 version, this Vacation is chock full of crass humor, coarse comments, sexual references, and constant strong language. Nearly every line of dialogue includes an obscenity -- from "motherf---er," "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," and "bulls--t" to "p---y," "d--k," and more. Violent moments/topics are played for humor (like siblings roughing each other up, a fist fight between families, a woman in a car getting killed by a truck, jokes about rape, pedophilia, incest, and more), and sexual content includes glimpses of bare breasts, scenes in which a man's large genitals are clearly outlined by his underwear, tons of crude innuendo and graphic references, and a scene of several partially nude couples waiting to have sex in public. One scene includes a mom chugging beer and then projectile vomiting while running an obstacle course.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byRyleefreeway August 20, 2015

It's totally fine!

It's ok completely! There are some questionable parts but nothing not in pg13 movies! It's mostly the language but nothing teens haven't heard,... Continue reading
Adult Written byvishnumurali123 August 13, 2015

Too much

Its a comedy, but the old is always good. This movie is really inappropriate from start to finish, but any mature 13 year can handle. The main this is nudity an... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byJordan1568329 August 20, 2015

It's good

It was good, I'm 15, my parents saw it and told me I could see it w friends (parents are strict w movies, no R at all) evn tho it was R they let me because... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bySalsander August 2, 2015

Crude and Terrible

Definitely not as funny as National Lampoons vacation. There's a lot of immature humor, but nothing really eyebrow raising (or funny for that matter).
Vio... Continue reading

What's the story?

VACATION reunites us with the Griswold family: Ed Helms is the grown Rusty Griswold, now an airline pilot who lives in Chicago with his wife, Debbie (Christina Applegate), and two sons, James (Skyler Gisondo) and Kevin (Steele Stebbins), who constantly attacks his older brother. After friends brag about their memorable trip to Paris, Rusty decides that his family needs to recreate the long-ago Griswold road trip to Walley World in California. So Rusty rents a Tartan Prancer ("the Honda of Albania") and drags his reluctant clan across the country. As in the original, the Griswolds then face a seemingly endless list of obstacles and humiliating tragedies that nearly derail their ability to get to their destination. 

Is it any good?

You'll likely have a few laughs watching this movie, but they're coming at the cost of base, gross-out, juvenile, sexual jokes. Although there's no doubt that the original Vacation was crass, Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo (who make a brief appearance here) made most of the franchise memorable; but the new version -- despite a talented cast -- tries so hard to be provocative that the gags feel over-the-top and forced. The sequence of Debbie chugging an entire pitcher of beer and then proceeding to projectile vomit her way through a sorority obstacle course is especially gross, as are the references to rape, pedophilia, incest, and sex acts.

That's not to say that audiences won't laugh. Charlie Day pops up as a suicidal white-water rafting guide who leads the Griswolds on a killer (and admittedly hilarious) ride. Other actors -- like Norman Reedus, Michael Pena, and Keegan Michael Key, as well as Leslie Mann and Chris Hemsworth as, respectively, Rusty's sister, Audrey, and her attractive (and ridiculously endowed) husband, Stone -- also add much-needed relief from the brothers' squabbling and Helms' clueless attempts at family bonding.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about reboots and remakes. Why are they so common? Why do you think filmmakers and studios are drawn to them? How does Vacation stack up to others?

  • How are sex and drinking portrayed in the movie? Are characters responsible when it comes to both topics? Are there realistic consequences? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values on these subjects.

  • Vacation -- like some other comedies -- uses humiliation as a source of humor. What do you think about this brand of humor? Why do certain topics make some people laugh and not others?

  • Most of the movie's violent moments are played for humor. Does that change their impact? Is it OK to let kids see some types of movie violence but not others?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love comedy

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