Vegas Vacation

1997, Movie, PG, 94 mins

Review

VEGAS VACATION
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It's a bad sign when National Lampoon wants its name out of the title. In this latest entry in the Lampoon's successful VACATION series, Sparky Griswold (Chevy Chase) packs up the family and heads for the Vegas Strip to renew his wedding vows and celebrate his new invention, a food preservative that'll keep cookies fresh for four years and milk for eight. It's a bad move: In almost no time the family's savings have been gambled away, daughter Audrey (Marisol Nichols) is dancing as a go-go girl at the Club Aureola, son Rusty (Ethan Embry) has fallen in with a band of sharp-dressed high rollers, and wife Ellen (Beverly D'Angelo) is off hitting the high notes with Wayne Newton. The best that can be said of the Vacation series is that it continues to provide the very gifted and criminally underused D'Angelo with work. The worst is that it encourages Chase, who only seems to get worse with each installment. Here he appears downright depressed: When glitzy magicians Siegfried & Roy make him vanish, you can't help but hope they'll forget how to bring him back. Chase is a veritable black-hole of mirthlessness who sucks every ounce of fun out what might otherwise be a fairly diverting comedy. Was he ever funny? leave a comment --Ken Fox

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