Candid Cinema

‘Vacation Friends’ Review

By: Amanda Guarragi

What can be said about Vacation Friends? It is supposed to be a comedy, that brings two unlikely couples together, as they vacation in Mexico. It is always great to see Lil Rel Howery because I genuinely think, he has great comedic timing and is one of the funniest men working right now. However, this script, buried the jokes and nothing really landed. Yes, there was plenty of set up in regards to physical comedy or even the banter, but it just did not flow. It felt like they were trying too hard to make the jokes that were written, funny, but they just weren’t. It is hard to elevate a script, that continuously works against the freedom of the actors, to just enjoy delivering the lines.

The movie felt incredibly rushed, which made the second half of the film feel overly long. The structure did not really work too well because of the premise. You had a very uptight and reserved, Marcus (Lil Rel Howery) planning to propose to his girlfriend Emily (Yvonne Orji), during their stay at a beautiful resort in Mexico. There are a couple of mishaps with the hotel room and the proposal. Naturally, the free-spirited, wild cards they meet, Ron (John Cena) and Kyla (Meredith Hagner), help them in their time of need, and they experience an unusual week without inhibitions. Many of the crazy situations they got into, were cut short, so there was no comedic payoff. That is why this was a struggle to sit through. The scenes they should have shown, like any other comedy, should have been left in here to actually get the laughs.

It is almost like, Clay Tarver strayed away from being conventional because he wanted to do something different, but he also cut the humour very short in doing so. It is perfectly fine to change things up a bit, but when you remove an element in a comedic set-up, it’s quite noticeable. Lil Rel Howery was really working hard to make his character over-the-top, in order to save this script. While he was working overtime, John Cena tried his best as well, but the writing just did not allow him to shine, as he did in Blockers. They had some fun moments, but in the end, they both fell short.

Vacation Friends is a struggle to sit through, especially during cringe-worthy moments, and weak jokes. Lil Rel Howery and John Cena made an attempt to save this movie, but the poor writing worked against them. It’s supposed to be this wild comedy because of the whacky couple but instead it’s just a series of mishaps, with a major secret looming over their heads. The bones of this script would have worked if they let the funny moments breath a bit more, to actually get the laughs, especially the physical moments. Really wanted a new comedy to enjoy, and sadly, this one really disappointed me.

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