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Empire's 50 Greatest Movie Sequels | The follow-ups that achieve greatness in their own right

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National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
DIRECTED BY JEREMIAH S. CHECHIK
RELEASED: 1989

Why's it so good? The third part in any series is tricky and, usually, rubbish, and for comedies that rules applies quadrupley. Yet somehow the third outing of the manic family Grisworld was the best of the bunch, a modern Christmas comedy that doesn't make you want to stab your eyes out with the business end of a tree. More family-friendly than the previous two Vacations, this one sees Chevy Chase's Clark W. Griswold determined to give his family the hap-hap-happiest Christmas of their lives - and nothing will stand in his way. Not his idiot cousin, Eddie, not a slightly overcooked turkey, not an uncooperative family (including Juliette Lewis and Johnny Galecki as the kids) and certainly not a rogue squirrel on the loose�

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
How does it stack up to the original? It's the best of the bunch, mixing surreal episodes (the sonic-boom sleigh ride) with top-class slapstick and the gentle humour of situations from a thousand family gatherings. It also features a classic performance by Chevy Chase, getting more unhinged as things go wrong, culminating in a rant that would give Christian Bale a run for his money.

Glaring error: It's never quite explained why the Griswold kids, Rusty (Galecki) and Audrey (Lewis) are younger than they are in European Vacation�


GAP BETWEEN SEQUEL AND ORIGINAL: 76 MONTHS


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