The glory days of the buddy comedy are long gone. At least, it seems that way, sometimes, but honestly, I often wonder if buddy comedies ever really had any glory days. More often than not, buddy comedies are used to disguise problematic or lazy humour with on-screen chemistry, and as a rule, I approach the genre with a tentative wariness.
Such was the case with Vacation Friends. Honestly, I really like John Cena, because he’s actually on the up as an actor. It’s easy to see muscles (or not see them, because y’know, he’s John Cena) and assume that he’s just another wrestler trying to make his way in Hollywood as he ages out of sports entertainment, but he actually has some really impressive comedic chops, and Vacation Friends gives him a vehicle to really show them off.
Lil Rel Howery (Get Out, Bird Box) stars as Marcus, a neurotic control freak on holiday with his fiancée Emily (Yvonne Orji). They form an unlikely alcohol-fueled (among other things) friendship with Ron (Cena) and Kyla (Meredith Hagner), a wild, carefree couple who just happen to be their polar opposites.
Cue all manner of predictable mishaps before the two couples go their separate ways, only to reunite 7 months later at Marcus and Emily’s wedding, where the couple find themselves at a loss to explain their wild “best friends” to their families.
Honestly, Vacation Friends was about as predictable as they come, but it does have a few solid laughs to offer. Cena carries the entire film on his massive shoulders, delivering some wickedly funny deadpan comedy as well as making the irritating Marcus slightly more bearable.
The film doesn’t do anything more than you’d expect it to, but it is at least relatively funny, and between Vacation Friends and the recent success of The Suicide Squad, it seems that John Cena’s star is certainly on the rise.
Summary: Unoriginal but not uninteresting, Vacation Friends fits comfortably into a box where it will most likely remain forgotten.
Highlight: John Cena’s performance as Ron is the only thing that would have me recommend – or even mention – this film ever again.