The Peterborough Examiner

What they did on Vacation

Goldstein, Daley team up to helm film spinoff

- BOB THOMPSON Postmedia News

LOS ANGELES — Before Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley landed their gig on Vacation, they paid their comedy dues by mixing it up.

They collaborat­ed on the screenplay­s for the R-rated hit Horrible Bosses and the animated family movie Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2.

The one-two punch earned them the job as writers and directors of Vacation, an updated version of National Lampoon’s Vacation from 1983.

But the filmmakers think of their new movie as a spinoff, not a redo.

“If they had said ‘remake’ to us, we would have run screaming from it,” says Goldstein. Adds Daley: “We are huge fans of the original so it was a fine balance for us.”

In their Vacation, Ed Helms plays Rusty Griswold, the grownup son of Clark (Chevy Chase). The misadventu­res begin again when Rusty takes his wife Debbie (Christina Applegate) and their two sons (Skyler Gisondo and Steele Stebbins) to revisit Walley World.

The assorted ill fortunes may be familiar in the new comedy, but Helms’s unwitting Rusty and Chase’s devilish Clark are decidedly different.

“Clark had a slyness in his mischievou­sness and Rusty definitely doesn’t in our movie,” Daley says.

The Griswold kids are different, too. The younger and more aggressive son Kevin (Stebbins) relentless­ly picks on the older and passive son James (Gisondo) to score some comedy points.

“We needed a fresh dynamic,” says Daley, who was the kid actor who played the lead in TV’s Freaks and Geeks.

Another addition has the Griswold clan spending the night with Rusty’s sister Audrey (Leslie Mann). She’s married to self-loving TV weatherman Stone Crandall, defined by Chris Hemsworth, best known for his superhero Thor.

“Chris took the part so seriously,” says Goldstein of the Crandall role, which required Hemsworth to appear dim-witted and half-naked occasional­ly.

“He is good,” agrees Daley. “He knew not to telegraph the comedy.”

The new Vacation does include Chase, who shows up briefly as Clark, and Beverly D’Angelo, who returns as Clark’s wife, Ellen. “It was a stamp of approval,” says Daley of the cameos.

A few classic sequences recalling the National Lampoon’s Vacation film series are also used as setups for sight gags.

And, the Holiday Road song punctuates the new movie like it did in the old one. “We had to put it in,” says Goldstein.

Helms, however, is less inclined to discuss a new tune in Vacation. That’s Seal’s hit from 1994, Kiss From a Rose, which is showcased in the new movie.

As Rusty, the actor had to sing the tune over and over during multiple takes, and then repeat the process when the Griswolds join in later.

“We never sang that song voluntaril­y, because we had to sing it too many times against our will,” Helms says.

“As great as that song is, it gets in your head and won’t get out. So I apologize in advance.”

 ?? WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINM­ENT/AP ?? Ed Helms, left, and Chevy Chase appear in Vacation, a spinoff of 1983’s National Lampoon’s Vacation.
WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINM­ENT/AP Ed Helms, left, and Chevy Chase appear in Vacation, a spinoff of 1983’s National Lampoon’s Vacation.

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