Every once in awhile a movie comes along that follows a formula but still rises above the rest of the films in the same genre. Vacation Friends is a movie like that. At it’s core, it’s a vehicle for John Cena and Meredith Hagner to show off their comedic chops. Lil Rel Howery and Yvonne Orji star as Marcus and Emily, who are just trying to have a normal vacation. When almost everything goes wrong on their way to getting a dream room at a resort, they run into Ron and Kyla, played by Cena and Hagner. Clay Tarver directs a script by Tom & Tim Mullen, Clay Tarver, Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley.
The rest of the cast is rounded out with Robert Wisdom, Andrew Bachelor, and Lynn Whitfield. This story is really a tale of two halves that both add together for a hilarious comedy experience on Hulu or Star+. So, what makes this movie so special to stand out in a crowded comedy sphere?
Vacation Friends Is The Perfect “2021” Comedy
Comedies these days are afraid to be funny. They’re afraid to offend. No one wants to make anyone feel left out or made fun of. Vacation Friends doesn’t just let it rip with horrible, vulgar comedy. In fact, there’s no nudity, there’s no overuse of curse words, so how does it get the laughs across? It does use some comedic stylings that are standard for this era of comedy. You have a scene where Marcus eats a magic mushroom and goes on an incredible drug trip. That one started with 21 Jump Street, but it’s put to good effect here as well. Ron and Kyla are the backbone of the comedy here, with Marcus and Emily playing the straight-people off their antics.
The first half is all about their vacation and how messed up it can get. Boat crashes, cliff dives, and more highlight the comedic sections of this half. Far and away though, the comedic highlight of the first half is the hotel attendant, Maurillo, played by Carlos Santos. He steals every scene that he’s in, and I swear they could make a whole spinoff about him and the hotel he works at. It’s truly a fantastic comedic performance, he gets the Heat Check award for the movie.
The second half of the film is about Marcus and Emily’s wedding and how Ron and Kyla find ways to “help”. They inevitably end up ruining things for Marcus and Emily, and they have a big breakup as friends. It’s a pretty normal comedy structure. But that’s not what sets Vacation Friends apart from the field. It’s the heart, and the performances from the entire cast that do. The movie has this intangible quality that you feel while watching it.
The Bad Of Vacation Friends
This is not a perfect movie. It’s fairly derivative of other comedies of this period. When one thing succeeds, we have to have similar comedic sections. So if you’ve seen similar comedies, you might recognize some of the stylings. Outside of that, and some jokes that might not land for certain people, this is definitely one of the better comedies of 2021. It’s hard to find things to outright hate in this movie.
It’s filled with joyous laughs and is one that I wholeheartedly recommend for people who need a good laugh. At this point in 2021, we could definitely use one. Vacation Friends is streaming on Hulu and Star+ right now.