Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure [Retro Review]

“You’re not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, but you’re a good man.”

The Scoop: 2003 NR, directed by Nick Marck and starring Randy Quaid, Miriam Flynn, Dana Barron and Jake Thomas

Tagline: What could go wrong in paradise? Just about anything!

Summary Capsule: Cousin Eddie drags us by the scruff of our neck to the tropics and holiday hum-drum

Justin’s Rating: Nobody knows the troubles I’ve seen… nobody knows but Jesus…

Justin’s Review: ‘Twas the fortnight before Christmas, and I was stalking through the aisles of Target, on a mission to find those blue tablets that make your toilet water look like a fathomless ocean. Walking past the media section, my eye caught what had to be a mirage. I paused. Backtracked. Confirmed my suspicions. And fell to my knees, shrieking in horror, for I had seen what no man outside of his mother’s womb should ever see: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure.

A fifth entry in the Vacation series, and a sequel to my beloved Christmas Vacation? I knew a rusty barbed hook awaited me in that bait, but I was helpless to resist the bite. I’m such a sucker for horrible, straight-to-video sequels of somewhat famous films.

Like most sequels of this ilk (ilky ilky bo-bilky), Christmas Vacation 2 has the stink of being born of greed and actor desperation. Not even Chevy Chase, who I imagine must not be liking his temporary job as a bagger at Kroger’s, needed the work this bad. But Randy Quaid, as good ol’ dependable Cousin Eddie, obviously was sick of eating dog food, so he’s here. As is the actress who’s played his wife in three of the previous Vacations, and Audrey Griswold (reprised by Dana Barron from the first Vacation). Other than them and the title, the only other Vacation connection my sobbing brain made was spotting Eric Idle (of Monty Python fame), doing the same eternally patient Englishman role he did in European Vacation.

Don’t let the “Christmas” in this title fool you, but I’m guessing it will, if you voluntarily watched this. Bitten by a lab monkey, Eddie’s old job sends him on a vacation to the tropics. There, Eddie’s family (including son Third, Uncle Nick, and a tour guide who has to put up with an obscene amount of breast-related jokes) gets stranded on an island, where they play Gilligan’s Island and refuse to make you laugh for an hour and a half. They do throw an “Island Christmas”, at the insistence of their brain-challenged guide, but with only themselves to play off of for a long stretch, it’s not as merry as the advertising might suggest.

Like many second-tier characters who only get a chance at a starring role in slipshod sequels like this, Eddie’s a lot less entertaining as the main guy than as the wacky extra who the main guy makes fun of. There’s no one to really point out Eddie’s buffoonish nature, and when his family takes his antics as matter-of-fact, the humor also goes on a vacation.

As a quick, made-for-TV movie, Christmas Vacation 2 is both forgettable and poor in quality all around. It’s got brief spots of actual humor — Eddie destroying his bathroom is one, and a hilarious air traffic controller is another — but about the best thing you can say is that 80 minutes isn’t too long to spend in cinematic purgatory.

 

We wish you a deadly Christmas and a corpsey New Year!

Intermission!

  • Nice eye mask… also, incredibly creepy
  • The bathroom self-destructing is kinda funny
  • Eddie’s plate is now a bug zapper
  • Yes. Grandmothers think about sex. Thanks for making us think about grandmothers thinking about sex.
  • Farting dogs. Not as funny as they’d like it to be.
  • Eric Idle? Shame on you! You knew better than to be in this!
  • Horrible green screening
  • Bikini girl is awfully chipper and way too bubbleheaded
  • Kind of cruddy house, if I do say so myself
  • Dana Barron is the first Griswold kid to reprise their role.

Groovy Quotes

    Jack: You’re not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, but you’re a good man. Air traffic control: Have you ever flown a plane? [silence] I’ll take that as a “no.”

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2 Comments

  1. Pingback: Justin does A Christmas Story 2 « Mutant Reviewers From Hell

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