Co-scripted by teen-pic maestro John Hughes (The Breakfast Club et al), this politically incorrect comedy 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.
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.
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.
Clark W Griswold
Man in bathroom
Lady in bed
The Froegers’ son
The Froegers’ daughter
Game show hostesses