REVIEW: ‘Vacation Friends’ is Familiar, Uncomfortable, and Funny as Hell

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Vacation Friends - But Why Tho

Vacations are a time when you get to escape your regular lifestyle, and leave all of your responsibilities in the rear view mirror. It’s a chance to unwind, cut loose, and just enjoy yourself. The friends made on these trips can be ones formed in a bond that lasts a lifetime, and then there are others that are more of a temporary fling that works in the moment. But, what if the latter situation came and found you, on the biggest weekend of your life? Vacation Friends is a Hulu original film, out now on the streaming platform.

Directed by Clay Tarver, starring Lil Rel Howery as Marcus, Yvonne Orji as Emily, John Cena as Ron, and Meredith Hagner as Kyla. The film centers around Marcus and Emily as they escape to Mexico for a romantic getaway. There they meet Ron, and Kyla who allow them to release their inhibitions and become more hedonistic. As the foursome cause all kinds of havoc and engage in mischief they’d never consider at home. As they all head home Marcus and Emily turn their attention to the wedding, and on that fateful weekend who should turn up, but Ron and Kyla. Now, soon to be newly weds have to manage their family expectations and keep the dynamic duo in check for one insane weekend.

Right off the bat, let’s define this film for what it is, which is fairly formulaic. There are quite a few films you can grab that parallel exactly what Vacation Friends is trying to do such as Meet the Fockers, Wedding Crashers, and You, Me, and Dupree. I mean, the comparative list could be quite long, and while the foundation of the story is somewhat repetitive, the premise and the execution works.

This film is funny. It’s not roll over on your sides funny, but it’s a stupid, shock and awe funny. Those comedic moments work so well purely on the back of the performances from Howery, and Cena. Their awkward, contrasting energy really sells the uncomfortable humor that results from the situations they find themselves in.

This is a role I’ve not seen Cena in before but he pulls it off so effortlessly. He plays the oblivious, carefree, and utterly self-indulgent character so well. It’s clear Cena can hang in the comedic cinema world, but in this film, he dials it up to 11. I think what caught me most by surprise is the way Cena plays his role with such a boisterous, and charismatic energy. He’s an absolute nutbag at times, but it’s hard not to love his character when he’s so happy and enthusiastic.

Howery on the other hand plays the more pragmatic, controlled type, and the voice of sanity for the audience. It’s excellent to see Howery get more screen time. To this point he’s been excellent in everything I’ve seen him in. He delivers a performance in which you empathize with him, and the decisions he makes.

There are a lot of other great performances, and the cast of characters really helps fill out the film from being a two-man show. Ultimately though, this won’t work for everyone, it’ll either feel too familiar, or unoriginal, or just downright far too ridiculous.

Overall though, Vacation Friends is meant to be a far-out, ridiculous, and foolish film that never takes itself too seriously. The 100-minute run time is a great length, and the film is carried by the comedic chops of Cena and Howery. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think we could all use a bonkers comedy like this one in our lives.

Vacation Friends is available now exclusively on HULU.

Vacation Friends
  • 7.5/10
    Rating - 7.5/10
7.5/10

TL;DR

Overall though, Vacation Friends is meant to be a far-out, ridiculous, and foolish film that never takes itself too seriously. The 100-minute run time is a great length, and the film is carried by the comedic chops of Cena and Howery. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think we could all use a bonkers comedy like this one in our lives.