Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Vacation Adoption Movie Review

It’s been about thirty years since Clark Griswold tried to take his family to Wally World. Now, his son Rusty is in a struggling marriage, and his two sons are at odds with each other. His family dreads the annual camping vacation, and so Rusty tries to surprise them by scheduling a cross-country road trip to Wally World. While his family isn’t particularly excited, they agree to go along. Rusty rented the only car available, and it injures him pretty quickly. The rest of the ride goes pretty much downhill.

 The Adoption / Foster Care Connection

There’s no adoption connection here. It is, in some ways, a movie about a family that’s trying to stay together, fueled by a father’s strong desire to have a close family relationship. Rusty has made ongoing sacrifices in order to be close to his family.

Strong Points

Rusty wants – and is willing to work for – a loving family and a strong marriage. That’s what has motivated this vacation, and many of his other life choices. Rusty’s wife Deborah affirms him ,”Marriage only dies when you stop trying, and you have never stopped trying.”


The younger brother bullies the older brother. The older brother only puts a stop to it by becoming physically aggressive with the younger brother.

Weak Points

The film is crass, just for the sake of being crass. Some of the things that were particularly uncomfortable: a joke about AIDS, a very foul-mouthed ten-year-old, a swastika being used for humor, a series of pedophile jokes, a couple scenes where one child dries to choke out another with a plastic bag, a mom getting very drunk in front of her children, evidence of a suicide being played for humor, misunderstanding, underage teens talking about explicit sexual acts, jokes about cannibalism in cows, a cow being graphically destroyed by a vehicle collision being used for humor, an insensitive portrayal of Korea, more rapist jokes, another suicide-for-humor scene,  and a man gargling raw sewage.


I laughed several times during Vacation, but overall, for most younger audiences it was inexcusably crass, beyond what I anticipated. It might be better to revisit the original. Some adults might enjoy it, but I think it might be uncomfortable for fans of the first movie. The redeeming qualities of the film lie in the surprisingly strong portrayal of a dad’s commitment to his family.

Questions for Discussion

How do you know when family relationships are healthy?

What choices do we make on an ongoing basis that impact the relationships within our families?

Do you wish your family relationships were different than they are? How?

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