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National Lampoon’s Holiday Reunion (2003) – DVD Review

national lampoons holiday reunion dvd cover


Written by: Marc Warren and Dennis Rinsler
Directed by: Neal Israel
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Judge Reinhold, Penelope Ann Miller, Hallie Todd, Meghan Ory


Released by: Fox
Region: 1
Rating: PG-13
Anamorphic: Yes

My Advice: Avoid it like the plague.

Dr. Mitch Snider (Reinhold) is suffering from the holiday blues. His family: rich bitch wife Jill (Todd), material girl daughter Allison (Ory), and allergic to everything son Danny (Calum Worthy) aren’t exactly Norman Rockwell material. Getting a surprise invite from long lost cousin Woodrow (Cranston), Mitch drags his family and his flatulent neighbor ‘Uncle’ Phil (Antony Holland) into the SVU to go to his cousin’s place in Ohio. Arriving they discover that Woodrow and his wife Pauline are New Age Woodstock refugees with a constantly angry daughter Twig (Brittney Irvin) and creepy crawly animal lover son Harley (Reece Thompson). And hilarity supposedly ensues.

[ad#longpost]When did National Lampoon become synonymous with crap? It held such promise with Animal House and the first couple of Vacation movies, but since then it’s become the brand name for comedy movies that aren’t funny. When you have to rely on fart jokes and a dog nose in the crotch, you know you’ve got nothing. The usual clichés of organic hippie living (waiting for the turkey to die of natural causes) to the redemption of Woodrow and Mitch through a heroic act that they necessitated in the first place are here in abundance.

The performances are pretty much phoned in, but with the quality of the script, I really can’t blame them for not giving their all. Even Bryan Cranston, who shows such talent in Malcolm in the Middle, can’t save this drek. The whole movie is yet another example of the tired Yuppie Redemption genre. I don’t advocate or necessarily discount the Yuppie lifestyle, but is it so bad that they need to be saved? Now a movie where suburban living wins over the flower children, that would be an interesting film. Needs to have Martha Stewart in it…wait, where was I?

National Lampoon’s Family Reunion is an inedible turkey. It doesn’t come with any stuffing (special features), but really, what could they have included? You have to be intrigued by the film enough to want to sit through the bonus stuff, and as amusing as it would be to hear the director or writers try to defend themselves, eh…that’s okay. Find some pumpkin pie instead.

national lampoons holiday reunion turkey peace

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