Compare/Contrast Analysis

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Molly O’Connell
Mr. Newman
English 101: Rhetoric
22 October 2014

More Vacations Equals More Reviews
In yet a third movie sequel to the original National Lampoon’s Vacation, Clark Griswold
once again tries to have a normal family vacation only this time at home with the whole entire
family from both his side and his wife’s. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a little bit
different than the other movies, instead of going on another vacation for Christmas, the
Griswold’s decide to stay home and have their family come stay with them. Just like the previous
movies, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is funny, chaotic and heart warming at times.
From, trying to setup 2,500 outdoor Christmas lights and falling off the roof to getting locked in
the attic, the Griswold’s always find a way to all be happy in the end. Although Rita Kempley
and Janet Maslin agree that National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacations funniest character is
Cousin Eddie, they have different views of how funny the movie was, and how well the actors
worked for the movie.
The only thing that Rita Kempley and Janet Maslin seem to agree on is how funny
Cousin Eddie is. “The best thing the new film does is to bring back Cousin Eddie” (Maslin).
Although Maslin really seems to hate the movie, she found that there was one good part which
was Cousin Eddie played by Randy Quaid. Kempley thinks that Cousin Eddie is the funniest

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character in the movie because of the funny things he says like, "The metal plate in my head, I
had to have it replaced 'cause every time Catherine turned on the microwave I'd {wet my pants}
and forget who I was". Clearly both Kempley and Maslin have similar opinions on Cousin Eddie.
This shows that the actor who plays Cousin Eddie does a very good job of portraying his
character. Cousin Eddie is seen as “gross as a belch in church, but there's something awfully
touching about this hard-luck branch of the family tree” (Kempley). Kempley and Maslin both
feel that Cousin Eddie is hilarious and plays his role extremely well.
Although both Kempley and Maslin find one of the main characters very funny, their
views differ on the type of comedy it is. For example, Maslin feels that the humor in the movie is
“best appreciated by 7-year-old boys” while Kempley feels “ it is a diverting stocking stuffer”.
Maslin believes that the comedy consists of only “gross-out humor” and repeated jokes of Clark
Griswold always finding different ways to hurt himself. Kempleys view on the comedy is much
different than how Maslin feels. When Kempley talks about all of the different characters, he
only states how each character portrays comedy, “ Mae Questel, once the voice of Betty Boop, is
a treasure as Aunt Bethany, a daffy octogenarian who bestows her Persian cat, gift-wrapped and
squalling, upon the Griswolds” this quote is one example of how Kempley talks about the humor
of the characters. Kempley also thinks that each characters humorous roles all tie together
making the movie funny. The views of Maslin and Kempley differ with comedy because one
believes that the humor is stupid childish humor, while the other believes the humor is family
friendly.
The last main difference between the two reviews is how they feel the about the roles of
each of the characters. Maslin feels that all of the characters besides Cousin Eddie, do not do a
good job at playing their roles. For example Maslin says, “When Chevy Chase finds a good way

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to hurt himself in ''National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation,'' he generally tries it more than
once”. She also states how Chevy Chase’s view of comedy (according to his role in the movie) is
very “repetitive” which she feels is not funny. Not only does she make negative comments about
Chevy Chase, but also about Beverly D'Angelo, Mae Questel, William Hickey, and even the
director Jeremiah S. Chechik. Kempley has a completely different view of the characters and
how they portray their roles. For example Kempley says “Mae Questel, once the voice of Betty
Boop, is a treasure as Aunt Bethany”. This shows how she feels about the character Aunt
Bethany and how well she portrays her role. She also says positive things about Randy Quaid,
Beverly D'Angelo, Chevy Chase, Johnny Galecki, Juliette Lewis, Miriam Flynn and Brian Doyle
Murray.
Both Rita Kempley and Janet Maslin clearly had very different views of the movie
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. While Janet Maslin felt that the movie had terrible
comedy, terrible characters, and just completely hated the movie Rita Kempley loved the movie,
characters, and the comedy. I felt that the movie was very funny and had a good storyline just
like Kempley. All and all, their have been many mixed reviews about the movie National
Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation that are either similar to Maslin’s or Kempley’s.

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Works Cited
Kempley, Rita. “’National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’ (PG-13).” Washington Post
[Washington] 1 Dec. 1989: n. pag. Web.

Maslin, Janet. “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989).” New York Times [New York]
1 Dec. 1989: n. pag. Web.

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