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National Lampoon's Vacation Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 38

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune

    There are two, maybe three, good gags in National Lampoon's Vacation, which otherwise is poorly paced, sloppily put together, and full of inept, ill-conceived performances.

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  • 70

    out of 100


    National Lampoon’s Vacation is an enjoyable trip through familiar comedy landscapes.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    The New York Times Janet Maslin

    National Lampoon's Vacation, which is more controlled than other Lampoon movies have been, is careful not to stray too far from its target. The result is a confident humor and throwaway style that helps sustain the laughs - of which there are quite a few.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    Newsweek David Ansen

    While there are few huge laughs, the very lack of pushiness in Harold Ramis's direction comes as comic relief. [8 Aug 1983, p.55]

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 15+

Funny family comedy, but dated and risque.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film's humor relies mostly on innuendo. While drug use and sex are never seen, they're very frequently implied and are generally the butt of jokes. The father of this family comes close to cheating on his wife but doesn't succeed and realizes that he loves his wife. Like every other social taboo this film encounters, the father's almost cheating is treated as a joke, as he is rather inept at it.

  • Families can talk about comedies. How can a dead dog -- or a dead old lady -- be funny? Can you think of other popular movies that turn disgusting and depraved situations into laughs -- or at least try to? How far can filmmakers push it before they've crossed the line into true tasteless territory? Who do you think most of these movies are targeted to? How do you know?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: Traditional family, with loving but slow-witted father who always tries to do good for his family. He does, however, brandish a gun at the end.

What to watch for
  • violence false0

    Violence: Some threat of violence. Most violence is cartoonish (a dog is dragged to death by accident).

  • sex false3

    Sex: Flirting, frequently suggested and implied sex, brief nudity, implied masturbation.

  • language false3

    Language: All major curse words used, somewhat frequently, until end of film when language gets courser.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Implied marijuana use by kids, young boy chugs a beer his father gives him, otherwise very little drinking and smoking.