National Lampoon's European Vacation
Independent Films, Film Profiles
National Lampoon's European Vacation (originally given the working title Vacation '2' Europe) is a 1985 comedy film. The second film in National Lampoon's Vacation film series, it was directed by Amy Heckerling and stars Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo. Dana Hill and Jason Lively replace Dana Barron and Anthony Michael Hall as Griswold children Audrey and Rusty. After Hall declined to reprise his role (he decided to star in Weird Science instead), producers decided to recast both children.This was the only Vacation film that did not feature Randy Quaid's "Cousin Eddie" character. In the opening "Pig in a Poke" sequence, the family's name is shown as "Griswald", though in every other instance and film it is spelled "Griswold".The film's plot is another family misadventure, full of over-the-top slapstick. Chase and D'Angelo again portray the married couple Clark and Ellen Griswold, living in suburban Chicago with two children, Rusty and Audrey. The family competes in a game show called "Pig in a Poke" (based on Family Feud, but with the families wearing pig costumes) and wins an all-expenses-paid trip to Europe, flying Pan Am Airways. In a whirlwind tour of western Europe, chaos of all sorts ensues. Their fleabag London hotel desk clerk is a sloppy, tattooed Cockney wearing a tank top (Mel Smith). Clark drives his family endlessly around the busy Lambeth Bridge roundabout for hours, unable to maneuver his way out of traffic, mentioning the Big Ben clock and Parliament with each pass. His wrong-way driving habits cause him to repeatedly knock over and injure the same frightened bicyclist (Eric Idle) who reappears in different scenes as if by coincidence, each time wearing more bandages than in the scene before. At Stonehenge, Clark backs their car into a priceless, ancient stone monolith, knocking all the stones down like dominoes, which they do not even notice happened as they happily leave the scene (while the family are at Stonehenge, Clark shouts for Rusty, who is standing right behind him. Rusty then replies, 'Yeah Dad?'. This conversation is a callback to a similar one which took place in National Lampoon's Vacation after Clark crashed the car in the middle of the desert).In Paris, Rusty throws his beret cap off the Eiffel Tower observation deck, causing a lady's dachshund to jump off after it; later, young Rusty meets a hooker at a bawdy Paris can-can dance show. While in Paris, the family's video camera is stolen by a passerby (Victor Lanoux) whom Clark had asked to take a picture of the family. Also Clark, with his terrible French manages to insult every native Frenchman.The Griswolds burst in on a bewildered, elderly German village couple who they mistakenly think are relatives but who serve them dinner anyhow, not knowing each other's languages. Clark manages to turn a lively thigh-slapping Bavarian folk dance stage performance, choreographed as are all the musical sequences by Gillian Lynne, into an all-out street brawl, after which he, fleeing hastily, gets their Citroën DS stuck in a too-narrow medieval archway after knocking down several street vendors' stands. The family members get on each others' nerves while riding together in a train compartment.In Rome, Ellen angrily discovers that private sexy videos of her from the family's previously stolen video camera have been used in a billboard advertising a pornographic movie, leaving her completely humiliated. After screaming her anger at Clark (who lied that he had erased the video as he had promised her), Ellen storms off and encounters a man to whom she confesses her recent troubles, unaware that he is a thief; the man then gets her drunk and tries to have sex with Ellen. Believing that he's trying to rape her, Ellen tries to make a break for it, but when she resists, she is kidnapped by him and his fellow thieves, who also are holding a store manager for ransom, prompting Clark to rescue her. At the end while flying back to the U.S.A., Clark causes the plane to "knock" the Statue of Libery's torch upside down.Cameo appearances are made by John Astin (playing game show host "Kent Winkdale"), Moon Unit Zappa, Robbie Coltrane, Maureen Lipman, Leslie Phillips, Ballard Berkeley, Eric Idle and a musical appearance by The Power Station ("Some Like It Hot").
Year of Production: 1985
Length: 95 min.
Country: United States
- Amy Heckerling
- Matty Simmons
- Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Dana Hill, Jason Lively, Victor Lanoux, Eric Idle