Vacation Friends Movie Review
I’ve been staring at my computer screen for 20 minutes now trying to figure out how to start my movie review of Vacation Friends, and my struggle lies with the question, How do you describe something that is neither great nor bad? How do you describe something that just is?
To describe Vacation Friends is, perhaps, best done when you think about what vacation friends actually are: people you meet away from home who are fun to drink with or hang out with for a few hours, but who aren’t important enough to you for you to exchange contact information with.
To that end, this new comedy, starring Lil Rel Howery, John Cena, Yvonne Orji, and Meredith Hagner, is a moderately entertaining if unimportant production that is best viewed at home. Which is good, because it’s only available on Hulu.
Had Vacation Friends debuted in theaters during normal times, I probably would have shrugged and said, “Don’t bother.” But if you already have a Hulu subscription and are looking for something to watch this weekend, you could do worse with this inoffensive R-rated laugher.
The movie, directed by Clay Tarver and written by five different dudes, doesn’t evoke a ton of outright laughter, but it stays true to its central premise and delivers a satisfying if somewhat forgettable romp that plays to its cast’s strengths. Howery makes for an amusing lead, while Orji holds her own as his equally befuddled wife, even if Tarver doesn’t quite give her enough to do. Cena, always at his best in comedies, and Hagner clearly had fun playing the seemingly carefree counter-couple.
Vacation Friends appears to be looking for a place alongside classics such as Girl’s Trip and The Hangover as it borrows elements from both. Sadly, despite its solid cast, it never elevates from material that can best be described as “run of the mill.” The running jokes are nonexistent, and the film rarely goes for big laughs.
In other words, it’s a comedy best made for streaming, a lighthearted, silly blip that can be fruitful in the moment, even if it isn’t something you’ll revisit for years to come.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.