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.


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

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