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February 19, 1997 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-02-19

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19- The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 19, 1997


They Might Be Giants
They Might Be Giants will be bring-
ing Its wacky brand of pop oddities
to Ypsilanti this evening. Catch
both Johns (Unneil and Flansburgh)
at Eastern Michigan's Pease
Auditorium tonight at 8, as they
tour for their new album, "Factory
Showroom." And for Die-hard fans
-- win an entire TMBG CD cata-
og, a special "S-E-X-X-Y" single
-and an autographed poster. Send
us e-mail at dailymusic@umich.edu
and be a winner.

lands at Eastern


'Vegas )
make s
By Bryan Lark
Daily Film Editor
There are few things you can count
on in life. The sunrise. Your family. O.J.
coverage. A good, fun Griswold vaca-
Wait ... strike that last one.
Upon witnessing the horrifically
unfunny spectacle that is "Vegas
Vacation," you, too, will be compelled
to strike something - or someone.
Back for one more, and hopefully
last, screen outing, the ever-bumbling
Griswold family, led by Clark (Chevy
Chase) and Ellen (Beverly D' Angelo),
are subjected to another needless festi-
val of gags and gaffes.
Instilling countless memories of trav-
el embarrassments on an entire genera-
tion, National Lampoon's first family
has dragged its reluctant children,
Rusty and Audrey, to Wally World,
across Europe and even to a quiet fam-
ily Christmas at home.
Perhaps spurred by the embarrass-
ment of the latest trip to Las Vegas,
National Lampoon has dropped its
name from the title, leaving Clark,

The Griswold family tries its hand at gambling in "Vegas Vacation."

Ellen, Rusty and Audrey to fend for
themselves among the casinos, hookers
and glitzy entertainers.
And they don't fare very well:
Beginning auspiciously with a decid-
edly Clark-esque commute home over
medians and
pedestrians, the
film slowly RI
descends into
comedic clich6 and Ve
movie monotony as I
Clark announces
that he'll be spend- At E
ing his big bonus
on a family jaunt to Vegas.
Once in Sin City, the Griswolds
become predictably seduced by the
glamour of it all: so-called "family
man" Clark by the gambling; underage
Rusty (Ethan Embry) by the slot
machines and women; overachieving
Audrey (Marisol Nichols) by the seedy
life of cage-dancing; and obsessed


Ellen by Wayne Newton.
Also along for the fun are wacky
white-trash cousins Eddie (Randy
Quaid) and Catherine (Miriam Flynn),
who now live on a former government
nuclear test site with their burgeoning
brood of children
and snakes.
VI EW Together the
as Vacation Griswold clan sees
the sites of the
* Strip and Hoover
rwood and Showcase Dam. They quick-
ly tire of one
another, allowing Clark to lose
$22,000, Rusty to assume the identity
of high-roller Nick Pappagiorgio,
Audrey to pursue the life of short
skirts and platforms and Ellen to
spend quality time with Mr. "Danke
Before you can laugh more than
three times, the Griswolds are back

e ...



together, learning from their.mistakes
and understanding what it means to
be a family. And they live happily
ever after.
But the audience doesn't. Instead of a
happy feeling, the audience is left with
only stale jokes, absurd antics and
sappy family values.
That type of absurdity is wh*
endeared the first three "Vacations" to
audiences, thanks in part to creator
Amy Heckerling, whose sense of silli-
ness is well-grounded in non-sentimen-
tal reality. Without Heckerling's keen
sense of what funny is, the film spins
off to some distant world where tired
slapstick reigns.
While in "Vegas," Chase and compa-
ny slam against walls, hang precarious-
ly over raging rivers, deliver the screen-
play's flaccid lines and -continual*
embarrass themselves.
This is all territory the Griswolds
have treaded in the past, thus making
the fourth "Vacation" little more than a
rehash of what we loved about the first
three journeys.
In fact, "Vegas" milks the preced-
ing films for all they are worth, play-
ing that catchy "Holiday Road" tune
and having a cameo appearance l
Christie Brinkley, just for the sake o
Speaking of kitsch, the film also
milks the life out of Las Vegas, even
going so far as to exploit the codpieces
and caged tigers of Siegfried & Roy for
a much-needed laugh.
Laughs are not the only thing missing
from "Vegas Vacation:' How about a
plot? Or some unpredictability? Or
some witty dialogue? That's probably
too much to ask of first-time scree
writer Elisa Bell.
This is not to say that this
"Vacation" is completely worthless.
Some of the gags actually succeed in
creating inspired comedy: Clark and
Ellen's failed attempt at joining the
Mile High Club; an outrageous Dam
tour introduction ("I'm your Dam tour
guide. Take all the Dam pictures you
want:'); an inside look at the cheap
casinos of Las Vegas with games lik
Pick A Number and Rock, Scissors,
Paper testing your skill; and a dead-on
inside jokethat mocks the ever-chang-
ing, yet always static, Griswold chil-
dren whose ages and hair colors have
been altered over the course of four
One can only hope that the
Griswolds will return for one last
vacation to someplace wacky like
Africa, Antarctica or Akron to redeem
themselves from the unnecessary
retread of pleasantly silly vacation
memories known as their "Vegas
You can hope, but don't count on it.

1400 Estero Boulevard. Fort Myers Beach FL. 33931

Some Resumes Make
The Rounds
Faster Than Others.

Quaid and Chase in "Vacation."


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