The hills are alive with the sound of Griswold! This s**t's been around for a very long time!
-- Clark W. Griswold (Chevy Chase)
I'm reviewing all the films in the Vacation series over the next couple weeks, and in preparation I've been re-watching each of the movies. I thought I'd be able to save myself some time and skip National Lampoon's European Vacation, as I just saw it again a couple of months ago. Then I took a seat at the computer and realized I couldn't remember a damn thing about the film. I saw it a few times growing up, I saw it very recently, and yet nothing was sticking out in my mind. European Vacation is that kind of movie -- not terrible necessarily, just instantly and powerfully forgettable.
The movie would seem to have everything going for it. Sure, Harold Ramis was out as director, but was replaced by the great Amy Heckerling (whom I recently saw at an Elvis Costello concert, which earns her unlimited cool points even without the movie career). Heckerling was hot off the excellent Fast Times as Ridgemont High and the cult favorite Johnny Dangerously, and seemed a perfect fit for the material. John Hughes returned to flesh out the story and co-write the script. Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo were reprising their classic roles.
So why is European Vacation so completely underwhelming? I intended to start each Vacation entry with a memorable line from the film, and it took me forever to pick a decent one for European. Where is Hughes' sparkling, endlessly quotable dialogue?