Vacation Friends

  • 11 Sep - 17 Sep, 2021
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Reviews

Marcus (Lil Rel Howery) is taking his girlfriend Emily (Yvonne Orji) to Mexico for a vacation and also as an extravagant way of finally popping the question. But despite priding himself on his ability to plan every inch of his life, Marcus finds that his romantic proposal is a disaster when their five-star suite is flooded. With the only other option being an airport Best Western the two are taken in by rowdy couple Ron (John Cena) and Kyla (Meredith Hagner). The differences between the couples are strikingly clear but they find an unusual bond, at least while surrounded by the artificiality of being so far from home. When their week ends, the pair are happy to leave their more extreme counterparts behind but seven months later, as their wedding beckons back in Atlanta, Ron and Kyla reappear and threaten to destroy everything.

Within minutes of meeting, they try to spike Marcus and Emily’s drinks with drugs they smuggled into Mexico before a series of far-fetched situations involving more drugs, a gun, and physical altercations. The five writers involved with the script aren’t able to find a way to make the friendship make much sense and so it’s hard to care about the chaos that ruins their wedding back in Atlanta, every ridiculous red flag moment one that’s entirely deserved.

All in all, Vacation Friends Is a sloppy throwback to both the ‘80s, when perhaps Dan Aykroyd and John Candy would have starred, and then also the ‘00s, when Ben Stiller and Will Ferrell would have led, the kind of thing that seems deceptively easy to get right but when it’s done wrong, it’s abundantly clear that’s very much not the case. The base ingredients are here – a charming, comically adept cast, a fun culture clash set-up, idyllic scenery – but they’re carelessly tossed together rather than combined with any thought, care or even slickness. The underserved cast try their best to distract, with Cena and Howery building on recently adopted personas well, the latter deservedly and comfortably settling into lead over supporting. The script is remarkably low on genuinely funny lines or set pieces, opting for broad mania over specificity which makes the last act sentimentality even harder to stomach.

– Compilation