Christmas time and the Griswold family are preparing for all manner of festive celebration. Inevitably Clark, Ellen, and their two children encounter any number of seasonal problems, including temperamental Christmas lights, a larger than life tree, and extremely obnoxious relatives descending on them. Despite all this, Clark endeavors to keep the moral high ground although it increasingly looks like he's fighting a losing battle.
Written by John Hughes the year before he wrote "Home Alone" this is distinctly desperate if harmless yuletide viewing. While the scenarios are familiar to us all (relatives you rarely see appearing from nowhere and so on) the formula is so tired and familiar that there are few laughs to be had. Chevy Chase, who is always a sympathetic and even vaguely endearing figure, struggles gamely on getting more and more red-faced with each scene. The Griswold family, while one of the better entries in the National Lampoon hall of fame, had already been used to their full potential in "National Lampoon's Vacation" and a repeat performance is hardly necessary.
As always the visual gags are more prevalent then the verbal ones, and are lit up in neon so you can't miss them (in this film literally). Notable possibly for an early appearance by Juliette Lewis there is little else to recommend this film, although it is possible that festive spirit may encourage a few laughs. Do not however fall for the tag line 'Yule crack up'- it will only disappoint.