Think of this movie as a remake/sequel. The movie is a modern hybrid of being a sequel and remake. It is actually a sequel of sorts with the son Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms), yet recast again, all grown up. He decides to take his family to the same place his father took him years ago...Wally World. We get some of the same jokes with some new twists here and there.
Directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein aren't the worst people to be in charge of this movie. In reality, this isn't a terrible movie. And, I found myself actually laughing at some of the bits. For our PC era of movie, the movie doesn't shy away from really dirty jokes. I was in shock when they threw a lot of dicks jokes at us, but not in the lazy manner as Sandler does today. Not all the jokes work, but some of them do.
The movie also nearly breaks the 4th wall with the characters discussing the need to make a remake/sequel in a very meta conversation. Heck, there is a rather amusing updated take on the girl that Rusty sees driving a fast car and imagines making love to just like Chevy's character had in the first movie, but she is promptly killed off in a dark humorously manner. That's setting up a repeat of an old joke, but completely changing it.
While the movie doesn't have the mean aspects to it like say the Grandmother dying or that dog is tortured and killed thankfully from the first movie. I hated those things in the first movie and felt like shock humor more than anything else. There is a bit of animal cruelty in this movie as well. I won't give it away, but I found it funnier than killing a dog as they did in the original movie. That's an improvement.
I also enjoyed the strange new car the family uses in this movie. There are some funny moments with the GPS and the buttons key change. I didn't think the car jokes would work, but they do. I got more laughs out those jokes. What does the racist button do on the car anyway?
I love that the younger brother is a total asshole and actively tried to kill his wimpy older brother. Those joke work for the most part and have a nice payoff at the end of the movie. Actually, the Griswold brothers are pretty funny and have a nice arc.
Christina Applegate, on the other hand, is almost wasted with the exception of one scene where she goes back to her old college. Applegate has been in comedy for years now, so use her.
Chevy Chase reprises his role from all those Vacation movies, but he is a total drag on the story in this one. He clearly doesn't want to be here filming scenes. Now that the Community money has dried up, he is doing it for the pay check. It is really distracting given that everyone else seems to be trying. Plus, it seems there was more with Chevy, but it ended up on the cutting room floor. That's for the better.
Speaking of Community, one of the weaker portions of the movie uses the Kiss From the Rose song in the same manner as it was used in Community. the recurring joke simple comes across as really stale. They should have used another song for its recurring joke.
There are some missteps with certain jokes and not all of them work, but overall the movie is actually funny. It is a sort of reboot/remake/sequel, but it knows it is and that's part of the fun. Despite the mean dead jokes, I still like the the original better. Yet, this update movie is certainly better than the spin-off Vacation movies that were direct to DVD or the last Vacation movie that came out in the early 2000s. While not a prefect movie, it isn't boring or unfunny. I laughed out loud more than a few times.