Vacation 2015/1983



I’m not sure if the latest Vacation is a sequel, a reboot, or a remake, but whatever it is, something is missing. Rotten Tomatoes gives the original 93%, and this one a mere 25%. The new one has the same general storyline and crude humour, but in a misguided effort to refresh the story, the crude factor is turned up. The respective trailers show the difference in tone. By comparison, the original looks like a masterpiece of sophisticated comedy.

Maybe it’s just nostalgia. The ratings of the original and new version, posted below, are the same in many jurisdictions, though Quebec, the BBFC, and Australia felt a higher rating was required. However, there is also ratings creep, the well documented tendency of each classification to allow more mature content over time. In other words, the current 14A allows more crude materal than the 14A of twenty years ago. While this is not deliberate on the part of the agencies, they are required to keep up with social trends, so if we are more relaxed about crude humour than we used to be, then permitting more of it in the same age classification is reasonable. The new Vacation is cruder in absolute terms, but not much cruder in relative terms.

Whether more crude humour is a good idea is questionable. Box office returns have been fair at best, and some American critics have blamed the R-rated humour, pointing out that previous sequels were more family friendly. However,  the similarly crude (but ultimately family values promoting) “We’re the Millers” did better box office than Vacation is doing. Perhaps the problem isn’t too much crude humour, but too little of anything else entertaining.

Look up the ratings by agency.

Area Classification
Advisories (2015 Version)
Maritimes 14a 14a Coarse Language, Crude Content
Quebec  generalq  c13 Langage vulgaire
Ontario  14a  14a Coarse Language, Crude Content
Manitoba  14a  14a Crude Content, Coarse Language
Alberta  N/A  14a Coarse Language, Crude Content
British Columbia  N/A  14a Coarse & sexual language
MPAA (U.S.A.) R  R Crude and sexual content and language throughout, and brief graphic nudity.
BBFC 15  R Strong language, sex references, nudity
Australia M  15+ Strong nudity and coarse language

By trc

Freelance writer, freelance editor, web consultant, and film studies scholar.

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