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Perhaps the funniest thing about this silly sequel is the shock and horror some are expressing in its wake. I’m not saying I didn’t cringe watching some of the stuff that happens in this movie; I’m also not saying I didn’t laugh out loud a few times, too.

Ed Helms takes the wheel, starring as the now grown original son Rusty who, just like Dad, wants to take his family on a cross country drive to WalleyWorld. This chapter, however, is not your father’s Vacation, it’s more not your mother’s Vacation. While Rusty continues the tradition of the befuddled but well meaning Dad, Christina Applegate’s Debbie is about as far from Beverly D’Angelo’s stable-second-fiddle Ellen as she could be. Debbie, we find out early on, has a past and, as gamely played by Christina Applegate, this movie is happy to let her freak flag fly. Are Debbie’s wild tales are signs of how far we’ve come, baby? I hope not, but at least we get to watch the always watchable Applegate get more camera time than did her predecessor who, by the way, gets a cameo in this edition. Don’t blink or you’ll miss her. Chevy Chase, almost unrecognizable, gets more.

Yes, there is a LOT of gross humor here. Do I need to remind you there was a LOT of gross humor in the other Vacation movies, too? (Aunt Edna and her dog, anybody?)  Especially as they stretched out the adventures into the unfunny third and fourth editions. This reboot goes there on several sad occasions, but it also delivers a few hearty laughs. And we get to see Chris Hemsworth trot around in his underwear, which certainly helps to momentarily divert us from some of the far more questionable lowest blows that surround him.

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