Co-scripted by teen-pic maestro John Hughes (The Breakfast Club et al), this politically incorrect sequel to 1983’s National Lampoon’s Vacation from director Amy Heckerling (Fast Times At Ridgemont High) should be dismissed without hesitation.
But there is something endearing about the Griswold family, and Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo’s infectious enthusiasm manages to sweep you along (as begrudgingly as kids Jason Lively and Dana Hill) on this cliché-ridden package tour – which the Griswolds win on an obnoxious TV quiz show called Pig In A Poke.
As the Griswolds weave their way from London to Rome – destroying Stonehenge, whingeing, eating, and donning silly clothes – two minor subplots are inserted: the family’s unwitting involvement in a kidnapping, and their equally inadvertent appearance in a softcore porn film.
Every conceivable national stereotype is pressed into service, as polite British cyclists, rude French waiters, aggressive Germans in Lederhosen and Mafia hitmen are trotted out with soothing predictability.
One of the funniest parts of the film has the Griswolds constantly – and literally – running into Eric Idle of Monty Python fame who retains his impeccable British manners no matter how horrendous the situation or how painful his injuries.
Nothing could prepare you for the highlight, however, a whistle-stop tour of the Louvre to legendary Belgian pop star Plastic Bertrand‘s seminal song Ça Plâne pour Moi.
Frank Zappa‘s daughter Moon Unit pops in briefly as Rusty’s girlfriend.
Clark W Griswold
Man in bathroom
Lady in bed
The Froegers’ son
The Froegers’ daughter
Game show hostesses
Rusty’s California Girl
Moon Unit Zappa