This raunchy vacation comedy forgets its passport.
This month, John Cena was awesome in “The Suicide Squad,” while Lil Rel Howery was hilarious in “Free Guy.” Their first collaboration “Vacation Friends” is inspired by too many comedies of its kind. We’ve seen a tradition of a character driving the other one up the wall as Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfus both demonstrated in “What About Bob.” “The Hangover” knew how to handle the drugs and alcohol. Robert De Niro was wise and comical as the strict father-in-law in “Meet the Parents.” And these days, certain vacation comedies about jerks fall flat as presented by “The Heartbreak Kid” (2007) and “The Wrong Missy.”
“Vacation Friends” is a lame and routine comedy that gave me the same reaction I had with “Office Christmas Party.” What are we missing? Booze, cocaine, and partying. You get some tickles and it tries to squeeze in the empathy, but most of the film is overshadowed by the obligatory behaviors and dumb antics, stuff we’ve seen done better or worse before. It’s like a Bloody Mary made from scratch, but has no hot sauce.
Howery stars as a Chicago construction manager named Marcus, who proposes to his girlfriend Emily (Yvonne Orji from “Insecure”) on their Mexican vacation, where they meet two party animals, named Ron (Cena) and Kyla (Meredith Hagner), who both have inadvertently wrecked their dream suite. Witnessing their proposal, they invite them to stay in their Presidential Suite, and provide them a day of booze, cocaine, and spiritual gatherings.
The next morning basically becomes “The Hangover,” as Marcus and Emily don’t remember what happened after the last half of the night. And seven months later, as the wedding approaches, it basically becomes a splice between “Wedding Crashers, “I Love You Man” and “What About Bob,” as Ron and Kyla invite themselves to the wedding, win the heart of Marcus’ disproving father-in-law (Robert Wisdom), and engage in their activities with their own spikes.
The only scenes that did make me smile is when Marcus and Ron eat magic mushrooms, and the former sees his father-in-law as a clown. That was actually pretty much. And it becomes considerate when Ron defends him by saying weddings are like circuses and the patriarch is the star of the show.
It’s supposed to be funny when Ron knows when a bird is about to take a crap or when Kyla drives a golf cart, instead of a horse during a fox hunt or when Marcus falls off a cliff that his new friends jump off of. I didn’t laugh at any of these jokes, and I certainly dislike it’s cliched-riddled and crass nature.
Cena and Howery are both awesome actors, but they don’t take the kind of risks they executed in their previous entries. And Orji is marginally better than Hagner for cutting back on the rule of a reserved or shrew bride-to-be. Even she agrees with her groom that their new friends are crazy. And of course, they have to realize that they’re actually better people than they both anticipated.
“Vacation Friends” is too lazy to be original and too boring to be fun. This is when you really become jet lagged.
Streaming on Hulu