A Chicago family sets out for a two-week road trip to California and encounters every conceivable mishap along the way.
Chevy Chase plays accident-prone (and incredibly square) inventor and all-American Dad Clark Griswold who sets off to take his family across America from Chicago to the Walley World amusement park in California and runs into numerous problems and disasters along the way.
To top it all off, once they finally arrive at the park, they discover it’s closed for repairs.
In the originally filmed ending, Clark snaps, finds the home of park owner Roy Walley (Eddie Bracken), and places a gun to Walley’s head, forcing him to sing and dance for his family.
The police arrive, but Walley decides not to press charges at the behest of his daughter (Christie Brinkley), who Clark has been encountering on the road.
Test audiences despised the conclusion because they wanted the catharsis of seeing the family inside Walley World.
A new ending was filmed in which Clark captures a security guard and makes him open the park so they can get on the rides. Walley arrives later and, upon hearing of the family’s ill-fated trip, tells the police to stand down.
National Lampoon‘s first outing – 1978’s Animal House – is still the funniest by far, but this decent effort is miles better than subsequent movies in the series.
Director Harold Ramis, who went on to make Groundhog Day (1993), keeps the silliness coming at a fast and furious pace, and he has the benefit of a supporting cast that includes Beverly D’Angelo, Randy Quaid, Christie Brinkley and John Candy.
Anthony Michael Hall
Kamp Komfort clerk
Girl in red Ferrari