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Stars: Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Skyler Gisondo, Steele Steebins, Chris Hemsworth, Leslie Mann, Ron Livingston, Regina Hall, Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Catherine Missal

Director: Jonathan M Goldstein, John Francis Daley

The Griswolds, that ever-hopeful American family for whom nothing goes right, have had a very up-and-down ride on screen: National Lampoon's Vacation, the original, had some very funny moments, while Christmas Vacation, the best, has become a seasonal comedy classic on TV.

In between, European Vacation and Vegas Vacation were far less successful, flops now joined by this ultra-crude and largely dismal update, which finds Clark's son Rusty (Helms), now grown up with two sons of his own, headed once more for the legendary theme park Walley World.

Alas, all the 'humour' this time round is well below the belt, including a youngest son who boringly swears all the time, and a scene in which the Griswolds land up to their necks in raw sewage. Laugh? I thought I'd never start, but Helms and Applegate (as his wife) are both pretty good and perfectly cast, if only they had better material - the latter deserving kudos for doing her own stunt work as she attempts a gameshow-style obstacle course that she had flown through at college.

And the 'River Wild' sequence, as suicidal guide Charlie Day steers the Griswolds straight for roaring rapids, is certainly good for a smile or two.

The rest is pretty abysmal, though; the climactic rollercoaster ride that gets stuck is unfortunate in light of recent events over here, but that's bad luck rather than bad taste. And, like the family clambering out of 'Lake Griswold', the film just can't shake off the stench of the latter. The level of humour here us about on a par with one of the sequels to American Pie. So, for those that care for 'em, penis and vagina jokes abound.

Still, at least Rusty does get to say 'Aw, no, c'mon, it'll be fun' in best Chevy Chase tradition.

David Quinlan

USA 2015. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour by Fotokem.
99 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 18 Aug 2015