Solid family fare with plenty of yocks, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is Chevy Chase and brood doing what they do best. Despite the title, which links it to previous pics in the rambling Vacation series, this third entry is firmly rooted at the Griswold family homestead, where Clark Griswold (Chase) is engaged in a typical over-reaching attempt to give his family a perfect, old-fashioned Christmas.
Acidic contrast to his fanatical focus on family comes from next-door neighbors Todd and Margot (Nicholas Guest and Julia Louis-Dreyfus) as a pair of suave young urbanites repelled by Chase’s behavior. Script gets off some zingers at their lifestyles, too.
A group piece in which the ensemble keeps growing as relatives arrive, pic really gains momentum when Randy Quaid shows up as redneck ne’er-do-well cousin, Eddie, driving an RV that looks like a septic tank on wheels.
For the most part, helmer Jeremiah Chechik makes an adept debut, injecting plenty of energy and spirit.