An Ed Helms Legacy Film Is Cruising On Netflix

Ed Helms turn as Rusty Griswold in 2015's Vacation is charting on Netflix.

By Matthew Creith | Published

From humble beginnings as a comedic correspondent on the Jon Stewart-led The Daily Show to a principal cast member of the hit NBC sitcom The Office alongside John Krasinski and Steve Carell, actor Ed Helms has worn many hats in his long career in the entertainment business. Moving from television comedies to work in movies, Helms has tried to establish himself in the genre as the go-to actor of his generation. One of Ed Helms’ most beloved films, Vacation, is currently available for streaming on Netflix as it has been climbing the charts of the subscription streaming platform to hit within the Top 10.

According to FlixPatrol, a website dedicated to tracking all titles around the world that currently exist on streaming platforms, Vacation starring Ed Helms has hit Netflix’s Top 10 in Australia and New Zealand. The 2015 film is a reboot of the popular Vacation film series that originally starred Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo as the Griswolds, and is supposed to be a standalone sequel to 1997’s Vegas Vacation. In the 2015 version, Ed Helms plays an older incarnation of Rusty Griswold, the youngest child of the Griswold family.

Before Ed Helms took over the franchise, Chevy Chase headlined the first of several movies with National Lampoon’s Vacation in 1983 where his character of Clark Griswold makes the decision to drive across the country with his family to the California theme park, Walley World. The film was a huge success at the box office, which spawned several sequels including ones set in Europe and Las Vegas. Chase reprised his role as Clark Griswold in 2015’s Vacation alongside Beverly D’Angelo as the two are in the older years owning a bed and breakfast in San Francisco.

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Christina Applegate and Ed Helms in Vacation (2015)

But the great success of Vacation and its reboot components is largely due to Ed Helms, its ensemble cast of actors, and the writing and directing team behind the making of the movie. Vacation costars a group of familiar faces, including Married With Children’s Christina Applegate as Rusty’s devoted wife Debbie, The Righteous Gemstones star Skyler Gisondo, Steele Stebbins, This is 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 would go on to cowrite the screenplay for Spider-Man: Homecoming and codirect the well-received black comedy, 2018’s Game Night starring Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams.

When it was released in theaters, Vacation was a financial success and rewrote the book on how some reboots can be made for profit in a time when franchises and IP-films are all the rage. The Ed Helms film went on to gross over $107 million at the box office against a budget of $31 million, however it wasn’t as well regarded amongst critics and audiences despite the financial gain. Rotten Tomatoes currently ranks Vacation with a 27% on its Tomatometer based on 177 critics’ reviews, as well as an Audience Score of 45% based on over 25,000 ratings from users to the site.

The overall plot of Vacation concerned a now grown Rusty Griswold as he chooses to take his own immediate family to Wally World, just as his father did all of those years ago, mostly in an effort to connect with his sons and spice up his life alongside his wife. The film featured many colorful guest characters along the way, as the new generation of Griswolds traveled to California via many roadside attractions like the Wigwam Motel in Arizona and the Four Corners Monument. Many of these guest characters were played by famous actors, including It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia stars Kaitlin Olson and Charlie Day, The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus, Scary Movie comedian Regina Hall, and John Francis Daley himself.

Despite poor reviews, Vacation 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 leading a movie in 2011’s Cedar Rapids. After progressing as a film star in Vacation, Helms returned to television in Rutherford Falls for Peacock in 2021, which was recently canceled after two seasons on the streamer.