THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT Copyright (c) 1997, Landmark Communications, Inc. DATE: Sunday, February 23, 1997 TAG: 9702220053 SECTION: DAILY BREAK PAGE: E11 EDITION: FINAL TYPE: Movie Review SOURCE: BY MAL VINCENT, MOVIE CRITIC LENGTH: 56 lines
PROBABLY FEW have noticed that it's been six years since the last Griswald family trip. Now, they roll into Vegas.
The series began with ``National Lampoon's Vacation'' in 1983 when Dad Griswald (Chevy Chase) got lost motoring the family to Wally World, a mythical visit to a sanitized theme park.
Since then, whenever Chevy needs to pay the rent, he reverts to a family trip faster than Sylvester Stallone could say ``Rocky VI.''
The ``plot'' of ``Vegas Vacation'' is so predictable that it could have been written in crayon by the Griswald kids back then. Dad gets a bonus for developing food preservatives (milk that lasts eight years) and announces, in game show terms, a fab vacation to the land of dice.
There, the predictable things happen. They get lost (again) finding their way to the hotel. Dad encounters a vicious blackjack dealer (Wallace Shawn) and loses the family savings. Mom (Beverly D'Angelo) is romanced by showroom star Wayne Newton. Daughter Audrey (Marisol Nichols) is poured into a tight dress and given a job dancing in a cage. Redneck Cousin Eddie, now living in a snake-infested desert trailer park that was once a testing ground for hydrogen bombs, shows up to drool over $1.49 buffets.
Stealing the film, though, is fresh-faced Ethan Embry (the bass player in ``That Thing You Do!'') as Rusty, the son. Although under-age and with a false ID, Rusty becomes a high-roller, is befriended by gangster-like hanger-ons and learns the joys of bikini-clad companions in hot tubs. Embry seems to enjoy it so much that he brings the movie its only real energy.
I remember getting mucho calls after reviewing one of the films because I commented that it was a ``family film'' but some family attendees thought it was too racy. This time, you're warned. Don't call. Yes, it is ABOUT a family, but there are sexual innuendos (even a hint of incest involving Cousin Eddie's shiftless family).
One might question the PG rating, but it seems pretty harmless - as if someone had made a faintly mischievous flick about Ozzie and Harriet.
Newton, who often describes himself on stage as ``a Cherokee Indian from Norfolk, Virginia,'' is either a whopping good sport or doesn't realize that he's trashing his own image.
If you liked the other Griswald outings, or if you liked the movie editions of ``The Brady Bunch,'' there's no reason you won't like this repeat. It is, though, most decidedly a repeat. ILLUSTRATION: Graphic
Cast: Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Randy Quaid, Wayne Newman,
Ethan Embry, Marisol Nichols, Wallace Shawn, Sid Caesar, Cindy
Brinkley, Siegfried and Roy, Miriam Flynn
Director: Stephen Kessler
MPAA rating: PG (sexual humor, adult situations)
Mal's rating: 2 stars