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Film / Vegas Vacation

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Vegas Vacation is the fourth film in the National Lampoon's Vacation series, and the first one not to bear the National Lampoon name in the title. In this 1997 film, Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) takes his family to Las Vegas.

Contains examples of:

  • Adam Westing: Wayne Newton, who in this movie uses his ladykiller singer persona to disguise being a Handsome Lech, and has no qualms about trying to steal away Ellen from Clark.
  • Arch-Enemy: Marty the blackjack dealer is this to Clark.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Why Mr. Ellis gave his winning Keno ticket to Clark right before dying.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: in part thanks to Marty's smug behavior, Clark is goaded into gambling away the family's bank account trying to one-up him.
  • Big Eater: Ellen, after she refuses Clark's proposal to get remarried.
  • Brick Joke: During the tour of Hoover Dam, Clark plugs his chewing gum into some of the holes spouting water in the rock walls. A few scenes later at their hotel room, a newscast can be briefly heard on the TV talking of a flood at the dam.
    • Rusty's prize cars. After he wins a couple in the second act, they're not seen again until the movie is about to wrap, when Rusty interrupts Clark's ending aesop about family to point out he has a few more belongings than he arrived with. The family ends up driving each one home.
      Rusty: Dad? You see those four cars over there? They're mine.
  • The Cameo: The family takes in a Siegfried and Roy show, where Clark is brought up on stage for part of an act.
  • Continuity Nod: In each of the movies, Clark is flirting or distracted by another woman. In Vacation, it was the girl in the Ferrari. In European Vacation, it was the dancing girls at the French Burlesque show. In Christmas Vacation, it was the sales girl. In this movie, it's Lady Luck herself (and, briefly, the girl in the Ferrari again).
  • Cool Car: Thanks to dumb luck, Rusty wins not one, but four of these at various slot machines. The film ends with the family each driving away in one.
  • Darkest Hour: Clark winds up gambling away all the family's bank account, leaving them with nothing but the couple of dollars Ellen has on her. In desperation, they put it all on a Keno lottery ticket and predictably lose, leaving them completely broke and away from home. However, the elderly man they've befriended next to them has the winning numbers, and gives them the ticket as a Last Request in the middle of a fatal heart attack.
  • Funny Photo Phrase: Rusty obtains a fake ID from a Frank Sinatra impersonator who pulls out a giant driver's license-printed board with a cutout and an old camera. He hands the board to Rusty and says, "Just stick your head in the hole and say 'Joey Heatherton.'"
  • Early-Bird Cameo: A Club Areola advert with Cousin Vicki is seen before she shows up in the movie and is identified as such.
  • Hair Memento: Wayne Newton gives a lock of hair to Ellen Griswold.
  • Heat Wave: Cousin Eddie and his family live in the Nevada desert, where it's so hot he doesn't even need a grill to cook chicken, he simply throws it on a rock.
    Eddie: Chicken's almost ready!
  • Help, I'm Stuck!: Audrey, annoyed that the family is taking up all the limo windows, uses the sunroof to take in the Vegas Strip, only for Clark to accidently close it on her. By the time they free her, she has a giant welt across her stomach.
  • Hollywood Law: The under-21 Rusty obtains a fake I.D. so he can gamble. It might slip past the guards and pit bosses if he was interested in playing nickel slots, but then he starts winning cars, and then he has the cars sent to a random outskirt motel. Ironically, Ethan Embry wasn't of legal age either, but Marisol Nichols (Audrey) was.
  • Ironic Echo: The girl in the Ferrari returns. Clark flirts with her once more...until he looks in the back seat and sees she has a baby in the backseat. She shrugs, and drives off.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: In-Universe example. Although Clark tells his family Vegas would be a fun place for a vacation because of the shows and sights, really he just wants to go there to gamble.
  • Lampshade Hanging: "You kids are growing up so fast, your mom and I don't even recognize you anymore!"
  • Lighter and Softer: Unlike the previous and subsequent Vacation films, Vegas is notable for being the only installment to be rated a family-friendly PG. It still has its share of crass humor and language, but nothing on the level of the famous f-strikes in the original film and Christmas Vacation.
  • Lonely Together: The Griswolds, on the brink of being broke, befriend an elderly man named Mr. Ellis in the Keno area, who is friendly but alone, and Clark says that for the duration, he can be part of their family. This leads to the man giving his winning ticket to Clark with his dying breath, with the personnel on the scene noting Ellis was a frequent guest in the hopes someone would just say "hello" to him.
  • Mess on a Plate: Eddie takes a broke Clark to a cheap Vegas buffet, filled with low-grade food including a vat of blue-colored and yellow-colored gruel, somehow distinguished as "chicken" and "beef". Cousin Eddie is apparently a fan.
    Eddie: I'll have some of the yella, and don't get cheap on me.
  • Mile-High Club: Clark and Ellen try this, with predictably bad results, leaving them covered in blue airplane-toilet fluid.
  • Minor with Fake I.D.: Rusty gets a fake ID so he can gamble.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Clark Griswold getting money out of an ATM. Filmed in such a way it looks like he's getting money out of a slot machine.
  • Schmuck Bait: The "Guess the Number" table that Cousin Eddie takes Clark to. Really, the person running that table can easily lie about what number he's thinking.
  • Silent Whisper: How the elderly Keno player tells Clark to take his winning ticket, as he's about to die. He then winks at Clark before finally keeling over.
    Ellen: What did he say?
    Clark: I think he said take the ticket.
  • Sunroof Shenanigans: Audrey gets stuck in the sunroof after Clark tries to roll his window down, unknowingly pressing the button that makes the sunroof close. She tries to wave down other drivers for help, but they assume she is waving at them or dancing.
  • The Casino: Clark is immediately enthralled by the casino and gets addicted to gambling. Even when strapped for cash, Eddie takes him to a dollar casino with games such as War, Rock-Paper-Scissors, Which Hand? and Guess The Number.
  • The Talk: Subverted.
    Rusty: "Dad, if this is about sex, I already know."
    Clark: "Oh... good talk."
  • Twincest: Rusty takes note of Audrey in a miniskirt. "Who'd have thought my sister had the legs of a purebred!" Clark is understandably disturbed by that and tells him to shut up.
  • Viva Las Vegas!: With no standards of the trope unturned, right down to Wayne Newton doing more than just a mere cameo.