Vacation Friends Review

Vacation Friends
  • Directing7.5
  • Writing7.5
  • Acting8
Overall7.7

Clay Tarver's Vacation Friends is another comedic standout for wrestler-turned-actor John Cena, capitalizing on his ability for R-rated over-the-top comedy and his chemistry with co-stars Lil Rel Howery, Yvonne Orji and Meredith Hagner. Think Blockers meets Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates only with more cocaine.

Clay Tarver‘s raunchy R-rated comedy Vacation Friends is another prime example of the golden age of streaming media as the film hits exclusively on Hulu with little to no fanfare, despite being an occasionally hilarious film that’s far from perfect, but the best kind of at-home fun that you can have.

John Cena co-stars with Lil Rel Howery, Yvonne Orji and Meredith Hagner in an outlandish comedy about a straight-laced couple (Howery & Orji) that stumbles into the wildest couple that they’ve ever met (Cena & Hagner), only to become “vacation friends” under the notion that this friendship is clearly ending once the plane wheels are up and Mexico is in the rear view.

Marcus (Lil Rel Howery) is a somewhat uptight construction worker, owning his own company and getting to that success by over-planning absolutely anything and everything. He figured a little Mexico relaxation would be the perfect time to propose to his girlfriend Emily (Yvonne Orji), but those plans go sideways once they discover their hotel room was flooded by some idiots upstairs in a jacuzzi.

Those idiots are actually Ron (John Cena) and Kyla (Meredith Hagner) and soon Marcus and Emily realize that Ron are Kyla are very nice people, just completely freaking insane. We’re talking cocaine-laced margaritas insane, but also the kind of people that allow you to open up and let loose, which Marcus and Emily clearly need.

That doesn’t stop the couples from having the time of their lives, crashing boats, doing all sorts of drugs and drinking to the point of memory loss.

Things seem to cut off once they reach the airport and go their separate ways….that is until Marcus and Emily soon discover Ron and Kyla at their weekend wedding retreat, which was supposed to be a family-only occasion.

Director Clay Tarver’s Vacation Friends is an absolute riot from start to finish, constantly pushing the envelop of stupidity in the name of comedy and if in the right mood, this film will likely entertain you and wrestle out a few strong laughs.

I understand that some might consider this dumb humor and that’s fine, because Vacation Friends doesn’t hide its intentions at all and is constantly trying to make you laugh based on what crazy over-the-top scenario it can throw at you next.

And it throws a lot of jokes at the screen and I think that most of them stick.

This is true because of the cast. Cena and Howery are absolutely fantastic together and really allow for Cena to continue to grow as a broad on-screen comedy act, while Howery finally gets his time to star and shine as the leading man of the movie.

Their complete opposite natures attract here and allow for letting loose and being unpredictable, which is what this film strives on.

Orji and Hagner ground the film a bit and provide for the core heart of the story. Both characters are the common sense ones of the bunch, despite Hagner’s Kyla still being just as wild as Cena’s Ron, but she channels her crazy in exchange for some of the film’s smaller and more intimate moments.

I think one of the film’s biggest charms for me rested with the fact that I had no idea about it until a few days before its release. We live in a golden age of streaming media where one could argue that there’s just too much content being pumped out across all of the streaming platforms.

Vacation Friends is a Hulu Original and had I not accidentally been scrolling through Hulu, I would have likely never discovered it and gave it a spin.

And this is one of those rare occasions where I praise streaming services and content providers, because an R-rated comedy like this managed to drop and completely surprise me.

I have no doubts this movie would’ve either bombed or performed poorly at the box office, given its R-rating and lack of franchise appeal or big star appeal (no offense Cena), yet on Hulu, this film plays like gangbusters and I had an absolute blast with it.

I say it in my tagline and I’ll say it again — Vacation Friends is Blockers meets Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, only with more cocaine and an unhinged John Cena that is truly coming into his own on-screen persona with each and every role that he takes.

Vacation Friends isn’t the smartest written film (there’s five credited writers to this damn thing) and it’s not the most original, but it’s a good time that knows what its purpose is and mostly nails it on the first try.

If you’re looking for an R-rated comedy that’s balls to the wall in its mission to shock and awe you with stupidity and absurdity, then perhaps give this one a spin. If you’re easily offended or don’t believe in movies that are just innocent dumb fun, then stay far away, because there’s nothing for you here.

Vacation Friends is an R-rated good time that I needed and I think that streaming services should deliver more of. It’s one of those modestly budgeted films that gets by on its talent and easily digestible premise and I think most will laugh their asses off. Watch the trailer and decide for yourself as this is one of those films where the trailer paints it perfectly and gives you a taste for what is to come.


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