Ed Helms plays Rusty Griswold in Vacation in 2015 on Netflix.
By Matthew Creith | Posted
From humble beginnings as a comedy correspondent for the Jon Stewart-led series The daily show to a lead actor on the hit NBC sitcom Office Alongside John Krasinski and Steve Carell, actor Ed Helms has worn many hats during his long career in the entertainment industry. Going from television comedies to cinema, Helms tried to establish himself in the genre as the essential actor of his generation. One of Ed Helms’ most beloved films, Holidaysis currently available to stream on Netflix as it climbed the subscription streaming platform’s charts to top 10.
According to FlixPatrol, a site dedicated to tracking all the titles in the world that currently exist on streaming platforms, Holidays with Ed Helms reached the Netflix Top 10 in Australia and New Zealand. The 2015 film is a reboot of the popular Holidays film series originally starring Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo as the Griswolds, and is meant to be a standalone 1997 sequel Vacation in Las Vegas. In the 2015 version, Ed Helms plays an older incarnation of Rusty Griswold, the youngest child in the Griswold family.
Before Ed Helms took over the franchise, Chevy Chase headlined the first of several films with National Lampoon’s Holiday in 1983 when his character Clark Griswold makes the decision to cross the country by car with his family to the Californian theme park Walley World. The film was a huge box office success, which spawned several sequels, including those set in Europe and Las Vegas. Chase reprized his role as Clark Griswold in 2015 Holidays alongside Beverly D’Angelo, as the two are in their older years and own a bed and breakfast in San Francisco.
But the great success of Holidays and its reboot components are largely down to Ed Helms, his cast, and the writing and directing team behind making the film. Holidays features a cast of familiar faces, including Married with children Christina Applegate as Debbie, Rusty’s devoted wife, Virtuous Gemstones stars Skyler Gisondo, Steele Stebbins, It’s 40 actor Leslie Mann, and Thor: Love and Thunder superhero Chris Hemsworth. The film is written and directed by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, who will then co-write the screenplay for Spider-Man: Homecoming and co-directing the well-received black comedy, 2018 game night with Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams.
Upon its theatrical release, Holidays was a financial success and rewrote the book on how certain reboots can be made for profit in a time when franchises and IP movies are all the rage. The Ed Helms film grossed over $107 million at the box office against a budget of $31 million, but it wasn’t as well regarded by critics and audiences despite the financial gain. Rotten Tomatoes currently ranks Holidays with a 27% on its Tomatometer based on 177 reviews from critics, as well as an Audience Score of 45% based on over 25,000 user ratings on the site.
The overall plot of Holidays is about a now adult Rusty Griswold as he chooses to take his own immediate family to Wally World, just like his father did all those years ago, mostly for the purpose of connecting with his sons and spicing up his life with his wife. The film featured many colorful guest characters along the way, as the new generation of Griswolds made their way to California via numerous roadside attractions like the Wigwam Motel in Arizona and the Four Corners Monument. Many of these guest characters have been played by famous actors, including Philadelphia is always sunny stars Kaitlin Olson and Charlie Day, The Walking Dead Norman Reedus, horror movie comedian Regina Hall and John Francis Daley himself.
Despite bad reviews, Holidays was a successful outing for Ed Helms’ box office draw, which seemed to add to his already growing film career. The actor was one of the stars of The hangover series of films before trying his hand at directing a film in 2011 Cedar Rapids. After rising as a movie star in HolidaysHelms returned to television in Rutherford Falls for Peacock in 2021, which was recently canceled after two seasons on the streamer.