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European Vacation (1985)

European Vacation (1985)

The Griswolds are back! I mean, they're here. I watched the sequel first, but if you're to watch these movies according to the level of craziness they contain, this one's a definite second! As in: it's crazy. Maybe a bit too crazy. It feels like they toned it down nicely in the second, found a balance between comedy and family values, whereas here it can go overboard to the point where you're not sure if you really want to laugh with or at the characters or just be embarrassed for them.

On the other hand, there is a lot more creativity involved in the filming of this one, moving between dreams and daydreams along with the humorous and at times hazardous reality (it all ends with a car chase!), and spanning three countries rather than one single location, with all the stereotypes these places incur.

The parents, played by Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo, were the same in both of the movies (and look surprisingly similar in both - Chevy's balding head the only noticeable difference in the latter), but the kids, in this movie played by Jason Lively and Dana Hill, where swapped for Ethan Embry and Marisol Nichols in the sequel. I suppose partly because Dana Hill died just one year before the sequel came out (RIP!), but maybe because they wanted a pair of somewhat more aesthetically appealing and less comedic characters, and maybe Jason had outgrown his role. They all do a great job in both movies , but... I did like the latter one better.

It's an entertaining trip, albeit at times a bit excessive.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

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