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Sometimes it’s nice to sit back and enjoy a wild raunchy comedy, and rest assured that Vacation Friends is both wild and raunchy. For me personally, John Cena was the selling point. Not only do I have a very large celebrity crush on him but he’s also proven himself to be quite the actor. Cena isn’t the only one to deliver here though, I was impressed by this whole cast. The lead players here do a good job of both displaying their comedic chops and showing they can make their characters lovable. The performances in addition to the script make this an enjoyable romp. This certainly isn’t a homerun or anything, but there are enough laughs to suffice.
I was most impressed by Meredith Hagner who plays Kyla. Hagner definitely elicits the majority of laughs with her ever cheerful and hopelessly oblivious demeanor. And while she’s wild and crude, she never comes across as annoying. Cena plays his role in a similar way to Hagner in that yes he is also wild but never annoying. Both of their characters come across as endearing and you can’t help but love them. They’re almost like two crazy dogs who run around and make a big mess but they’re sweet and good hearted so you love them anyway.
And in regards to Cena specifically, he continues to be effortlessly lovable onscreen. I’m genuinely surprised by how much I’ve enjoyed him in his films. Yvonne Orji and Lil Rel Howery also do a good job, they’re just not as memorable because they play the straight laced ones. This was actually my introduction to Orji, never seen her in anything else, but I hope to see her in more!
This script is better than average, but it also doesn’t reinvent the wheel or anything. There is room for improvement for sure but you won’t regret having hit “Play”. Things begin on the actual vacation where the crazy shenanigans ensue and then we jump months ahead to when Cena and Hagner’s characters show up uninvited to the wedding of their “vacation friends”. There are a good many hardy laughs during the first phase. I laughed the hardest at a scene where the two couples go out on a boat and Howery’s character reluctantly agrees to drive the boat. I won’t describe exactly how but the way in which the scene is filmed had me howling – very smart direction.
There’s also an ample amount of funny one liners that land well and they’re sprinkled throughout. Sometimes comedies can run out of laughs at a certain point, but Vacation Friends is pretty consistent. I also don’t feel like they relied on crude gross out humor to do the heavy lifting for them. There’s definitely crude humor here but it’s funny for the most part. Some R rated comedies just throw gross “humor” at you and hope it sticks but here the crude stuff comes in the form of fairly well written jokes.
Thankfully, there isn’t any scatological humor here, which I’m really not a fan of. Most of the adult humor here is centered around sex and unintentional drug use. Now yes, it’s true that this could have been stronger. This isn’t at the level of something like Spy but it’s also not a waste of your time. This is actually the perfect type of film for the platform it’s on; you can stream this at home and have a perfectly nice evening. And even if this film had sucked, at least I still would’ve gotten to see my celebrity husband……
Vacation Friends might not be included in The Best Films of 2021, but it serves as an enjoyable romp that showcases that talents of its cast members.
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