VEGAS VACATION (NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VEGAS VACATION) (PG)
D: Stephen Kessler
Warner Bros (Jerry Weintraub)
W: Elisa Bell & Bob Ducsay [based on characters created by John Hughes]
DP: William A. Fraker
Ed: Seth Flaum
Mus: Joel McNeely
Chevy Chase (Clark Griswold), Beverly D'Angelo (Ellen Griswold), Ethan Embry (Russ Griswold), Marisol Nichols (Audrey Griswold), Randy Quaid (Cousin Eddie), Wallace Shawn (Marty), Wayne Newton (himself)
The fourth outing for the Griswold family sees the calamitous Clark (Chevy Chase) celebrate a big promotion by taking his wife and kids to Las Vegas, where they have various misadventures in a rather slapdash manner.
Without the writing talents of John Hughes and dropping "National Lampoon's" from the title, the film has some references to previous movies but is altogether a bit of a mess, throwing multiple plot threads in without doing much with any of them.
There's a rather amusing storyline where Clark is on a bad run of luck, chasing his gambling losses only to lose even more, whilst his teenage son, using a fake ID, goes on a huge winning streak. Unfortunately, this only covers about 20 minutes of the film, whereas the rest has some stupid nonsense about Ellen becoming a romantic interest for Wayne Newton (playing himself) and daughter Audrey Griswold, considering a career as a stripper.
There's also a scene set at the Hoover Dam which really shouldn't be here at all, it adds nothing to the story and wouldn't have made any difference if it were cut from the film altogether.
The film is reasonably fun as throwaway rubbish, but it's the weakest of the four films featuring the Griswolds.