If the term Shitmas ever ends up alongside twerking and selfies in the dictionary, I’m willing to bet the definition attached to it will be word-for-word the description on the back of the DVD case that I’m about to urinate on and toss into my garbage can.
National Lampoon’s decades-later pseudo-sequel to Christmas Vacation is the absolute embodiment of the word Shitmas, and when I realized it hadn’t yet been covered over the years during Shit Movie Fest’s annual holiday festivities, I knew that my fate was set in stone; I was going to have to drink a shit-ton of spiked egg nog, endure the 83-minute runtime, and then spend another several hours trying to get my alcohol soaked brain to tell my fingers the proper keys to hit, hopefully forming some sort of an intelligible review in the process.
Truthfully, there’s no other way I’d rather spend a Saturday night. And even if I wake up tomorrow morning hungover with my head sewn to the carpet – a very real possibility, given how many times I’ve already re-filled my trusty moose mug - I’ve promised myself I won’t regret it. Anything in the name of Shitmas, I say.
Now, where was I? Oh right. That review.
On paper, a sequel to Christmas Vacation, starring Randy Quaid, is actually a pretty decent idea. Quaid’s Cousin Eddie is, after all, one of the real highlights of the film, and it’s his performance in it that is no doubt at least partially responsible for Christmas Vacation becoming such a massively beloved holiday flick. If you can’t get Chevy Chase for a sequel, the next best thing is ole Randy Quaid – this is, I’d imagine, the thought process that resulted in Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure, which went straight-to-television in 2003.
Though making unnecessary sequels to family-friendly holiday classics seems to have become the norm in recent years, Christmas Story 2 coming out last year and a sequel to It’s a Wonderful Life being announced this year, Christmas Vacation 2 was the first to do it – and the first to prove that it’s a really really really really really REALLY bad idea.
At the start of Christmas Vacation 2, Eddie is dealt a deck of holiday cards worse than a Christmas bonus in the form of enrollment in the Jelly of the Month Club, when he is fired from his job at an atomic research center. Eddie was a guinea pig of sorts for the company, allowing them to inject him with all sorts of experimental substances, and they were forced to let him go when they had to choose between either him or his fellow test subject; a monkey. Eddie’s less intelligent than a primate, you see, and if you didn’t learn that in the first Christmas Vacation than don’t worry – it’s hammered into your head at every turn in this one.
When Eddie shows up back at his former job to collect his severance check, he’s bit on the ass by the monkey, and the company decides to send him and his family on a holiday vacation, to avoid costly legal issues. And so, Eddie, his long-suffering wife Catherine (played by a returning Miriam Flynn), their son Third and Eddie’s Uncle Nick (Ed Asner) head to the South Pacific for an all-expenses paid Christmas vacation, island-style.
Oh and I should mention that they’re also joined by Audrey Griswold, whose house Eddie and his family have been staying in. It’s been a running joke in the Vacation franchise that the Griswold kids are always played by different actors, and in this one original Vacation star Dana Barron reprises the role – the first time a Griswold child has ever been played twice by the same actor. I suppose that should be cool, and it is good to see Barron back in the role, but the embarrassment for her sets in all too quickly, as does the realization that she was brought in only to try and force fans of the series into feeling like this movie is in any way deserving of bearing the prestigious Vacation title. It’s not, in case you were wondering.
Quite frankly, Christmas Vacation 2 is a slap in the face to Christmas Vacation fans, existing only to make a quick buck by preying on our love for the 1989 holiday masterpiece. It’s not often that bad movies make me mad. In fact, I quite often have a fondness for really bad movies, sometimes even more than I do really good ones. But Christmas Vacation 2 is so blatantly a careless, piss poor attempt to capitalize on a beloved property that I couldn’t help but be mad while I was watching it. They didn’t even try. Not even in the least. They just took a character they know we love, paid the original actor to return to play that character, and then knew that it didn’t even matter what the hell they did from there – they knew we’d pay to see it, and that’s clearly all they cared about. To that I say, SHAME ON YOU. Or shame on them, rather.
A series of childish and totally unfunny recurring “jokes” are pretty much all that’s on display throughout Christmas Vacation 2’s totally unbearable 83 minutes - sequences of Eddie doing stupid things, Snots the dog farting and Ed Asner being a creepy alcoholic pervert repeating on an endless loop for nearly an hour and a half. When I say there’s not a single funny moment in the entire movie, I’m saying that not because I totally hated it, and not because I’m mad about its existence, but rather because that’s the God’s honest truth. If you were to play a drinking game with Christmas Vacation 2, taking a shot every time you even almost let out a chuckle, your ABV would be 0.0% by the time the end credits started rolling – mine is of course at least triple that, but I must remind you I was not playing this particular game. (Yes, I’m aware that zero times three is still zero. I’m not THAT drunk.)
I’ve always said that sequels can never tarnish or take anything away from the movies they’re sequels to, no matter how bad they are. But as I sit here right now, I can’t help but feel the desire to call up Howard Mierzwiak (Eternal Sunshine FTW) and have the last two hours of my life forever erased from my memory. Christmas Vacation is a such an important movie to me, a childhood favorite that instills in me happiness like no other movie has the ability to, and I honestly feel sad right now. Sad for Randy Quaid, sad that I now think less of a movie character I’ve always loved and sad that I’ll never be able to watch Christmas Vacation again without thinking of this piece of shit abomination. Then again, maybe if I refill the ole moose another half dozen times, I can change that.
If any of you reading this are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one. I'd like Matty Simmons, the writer of this movie, right here tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on Melody Lane with all the other rich people and I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head, and I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit he is.
Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where's the Tylenol?
No seriously. Where is it? That hangover is already starting to set in…
- John Squires