Making the Grades
In yet another Vacation movie, Chevy Chase plays the usual Clark Griswold, a bumbling man who has managed to earn a trip to Las Vegas through his work -- a major surprise considering it would be a miracle if a man of Griswold's character could even hold a job. Of course the whole family joins him as they each experience Vegas in their own way: Dad blows the cash, mom falls for Wayne Newton, all while their underage son and daughter hit the jackpot and the strip bars respectively.
After two minutes you have the feeling that Las Vegas's tourism department had a hand in this movie's production. Vegas Vacation's creators try to convince us the city is fun for the whole family, yet other than a tour of Hoover Dam, mostly adult activities are depicted. This leaves even the teenage Griswold children convinced they need to lie about their age in order to have fun in Vegas. Other scenes showing families with young children surfing casinos in the middle of the night didn't compel me to make holiday plans.
Typical for most comedies, consequences for actions are minimized or removed. Clark gambles away everything and racks up a huge debt, yet a ridiculous "easy out" solution allows him to regain his lost funds and more. Meanwhile, with a fake I.D. his son wins four cars in one night and his sister follows their rowdy cousin into the "dancing" industry. By the morning everything is fixed and the family happily drives home in their four new vehicles.
We all like to laugh at our problems, but gambling addictions and age misrepresentation are not amusing matters and younger audiences may not recognize the satire intended. Everything the Griswold's gain is through dishonesty, and it appears gambling is a harmless pastime. The one positive note is the Griswolds do stick together as a family and want to go on their vacations together. However it's a good bet that you may not want to join them this time.