MOVIE REVIEWS

REVIEW: Raunchy comedy movie ‘Vacation Friends’ buries sweet moments, occasional laughs under mounds of profanity, vulgarity

Aug 27, 2021, 5:00 AM | Updated: 8:17 am
Marcus (Lil Rel Howery), Emily (Yvonne Orji), Kyla (Meredith Hagner) and Ron (John Cena), try to de...
Marcus (Lil Rel Howery), Emily (Yvonne Orji), Kyla (Meredith Hagner) and Ron (John Cena), try to decide on a boat to sail. (Photo credit: Jessica Miglio/20th Century Studios)
(Photo credit: Jessica Miglio/20th Century Studios)

SALT LAKE CITY — The summer of Cena continues.

Former wrestling superstar-turned-actor John Cena has yet another new movie out for summer 2021, this one the raunchy comedy “Vacation Friends” from 20th Century Studios that is now streaming on Hulu.

Cena already starred in “F9” and “The Suicide Squad” earlier in the summer, and for this latest venture, he once again plays a character with a military background that delivers punch lines from the straightest of faces.

“Vacation Friends” starring Meredith Hagner, John Cena, Lil Rel Howery & Yvonne Orji premieres on Hulu on Aug. 27, 2021

Vacation Friends” sees strait-laced Marcus and Emily (Lil Rel Howery, Yvonne Orji) befriended by wild, thrill-seeking partiers Ron and Kyla (Cena, Meredith Hagner) at a resort in Mexico.

Ron and Kyla get the usually level-headed Marcus and Emily to let loose and enjoy a week of uninhibited fun and debauchery with their new “vacation friends.”

However, months after their walk on the wild side, Marcus and Emily are horrified when Ron and Kyla show up uninvited at their wedding and bring with them their unique brand of chaos.

Writers Tom Mullen, Tim Mullen, Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley & Clay Tarver (who also directed the movie) managed to create some funny characters and did a good job of plot misdirection and hiding character motivations until the right moment to reveal them.

Tarver (“Silicon Valley”) also has success mixing in some sweet moments with all the vulgar ones.  There are laughs to be had, but just not enough to offset the over-the-top profanity or the boorish and annoying behavior of Ron and Kyla.  A little restraint in spots could have helped me like this movie more.

“Vacation Friends” is rated R for It is streaming exclusively to subscribers on Hulu. Hulu plans start at $5.99/month.

FINAL RATING:  TWO OUT OF FOUR STARS

Marcus (Lil Rel Howery), Emily (Yvonne Orji), Kyla (Meredith Hagner) and Ron (John Cena), try to decide on a boat to sail. (Photo credit: Jessica Miglio/20th Century Studios) Kyla (Meredith Hagner), Emily (Yvonne Orji), Marcus (Lil Rel Howery) and Ron (John Cena), party together on vacation in Mexico. (Photo by Jessica Miglio/20th Century Studios) Kyla (Meredith Hagner), Ron (John Cena), Brooke (Tawny Newsome), Grandma Phyllis (Denise Burse), Darren (Barry Rothbart), Harold (Robert Wisdom) and Suzanne (Lynn Whitfield), greet at Marcus & Emily's wedding. (Photo credit: Jessica Miglio/20th Century Studios) Marcus (Lil Rel Howery) reacts to surprising news from Kyla (Meredith Hagner) and Ron (John Cena) at his wedding party. (Photo credit: Jessica Miglio/20th Century Studios)

 

Watch the trailer here.


Hopefully you & your family found this review helpful! Andy Farnsworth is the movie and pop culture guy for the KSL 5 Today morning news show and also hosts the Fan Effect podcast for KSL NewsRadio. Check out some of his other in-depth reviews of movies and streaming TV series on KSLTV.com.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Movie Reviews

Javon "Wanna" Walton (left) as Sam Cleary and Sylvester Stallone (right) as Joe Smith in SAMARITAN,...
ANDY FARNSWORTH, KSL TV & KSL NEWSRADIO

REVIEW: Stallone’s ‘Samaritan’ stops short of superhero movie success

Sylvester Stallone's latest movie SAMARITAN sees him as a garbage man that a teenage neighbor believes to be a superhero in hiding. KSL's Andy Farnsworth says there are some cool moments that action and superhero movie fans will enjoy, but overall thinks it's good that the movie is only streaming on Prime Video and not in theaters.
3 months ago
(L to R) Thira ‘Aum’ Chutikul as Commander Kiet, Popetorn ‘Two’ Soonthornyanaku as Dr Karn,...
ANDY FARNSWORTH, KSL TV & KSL NEWSRADIO

REVIEW: ‘Thirteen Lives’ movie dramatically tells real rescue story of Thai soccer team from flooded cave

In THIRTEEN LIVES, a true story-based movie on Amazon Prime about the rescue of a teenage soccer team from a flooded cave in Thailand, director Ron Howard manages to pull off the feat of balancing truth with drama without turning it into a documentary. KSL's Andy Farnsworth says it was an emotionally-engaging movie that showcases the triumph of human effort and spirit when we work together to solve a problem.
4 months ago
(L to R) B.J. Novak as Ben Manalowitz and Boyd Holbrook as Ty Shaw in VENGEANCE, directed and writt...
ANDY FARNSWORTH, KSL TV & KSL NEWSRADIO

REVIEW: Dark comedy ‘Vengeance’ goes deeper than easy stereotypes for laughs in murder mystery movie

The death of a one-time fling draws B.J. Novak's writer/podcaster character Ben to West Texas to investigate and hopefully turn the story into a career-making podcast in Focus Features' VENGEANCE. KSL's Andy Farnsworth says this dark comedy has some great twists and very funny moments, while also going beyond stereotypes to create real characters.
4 months ago
Michael Cera as “Hank” and Samuel L. Jackson as “Jimbo” in Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank...
ANDY FARNSWORTH, KSL TV & KSL NEWSRADIO

REVIEW: ‘Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank’ remakes an adult comedy classic into an animated movie for modern-day kids

A kids animated movie based on the irreverent 1970's film BLAZING SADDLES? That's exactly what PAWS OF FURY: THE LEGEND OF HANK is, right down to having Mel Brooks voice a character. A friendly dog ventures to the land of cats to become a samurai, and finds himself protecting a village that doesn't even want him there. KSL's Andy Farnsworth says its got a great voice cast but keeping your expectations for the movie in check will help you enjoy it more.
5 months ago
The Gray Man (2022) Ryan Gosling as Six. Cr. Stanislav Honzik/Netflix © 2022...
ANDY FARNSWORTH, KSL TV & KSL NEWSRADIO

REVIEW: ‘The Gray Man’ is a violent but fast-paced throwback to action/spy movies of the past, with Chris Evans and Ryan Gosling chasing each other around the globe

The new action thriller movie THE GRAY MAN, from AVENGERS ENDGAME directors Joe and Anthony Russo, sees Chris Evans' sadistic mercenary chasing Ryan Gosling's on-the-run CIA agent all around the globe to get back some stolen information. KSL's Andy Farnsworth says it's a love letter to spy and action movies of the past, and is very entertaining at times, though it is also quite violent.
5 months ago
(L-R): Natalie Portman as Mighty Thor and Chris Hemsworth as Thor in Marvel Studios' THOR: LOVE AND...
ANDY FARNSWORTH, KSL TV & KSL NEWSRADIO

REVIEW: Portman, Bale help make ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ more than just another goofy adventure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER, the 29th entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, sees Chris Hemsworth's Thor have to deal with his ex-girlfriend Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) using his formerly-destroyed mystical hammer and possessing his same power while trying to stop a villain who can kill gods. KSL's Andy Farnsworth says it's another goofy take on the character that has some very funny moments, but may not be to everyone's tastes.
5 months ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
REVIEW: Raunchy comedy movie ‘Vacation Friends’ buries sweet moments, occasional laughs under mounds of profanity, vulgarity