'Vacation Friends' Review: Just easy weekend watchin'

You've seen this movie, but not with this cast!

Vacation Friends on Hulu.
(Image: © Hulu)

What to Watch Verdict

'Vacation Friends' is a perfectly passable weekend watch if movie theaters still give you the jitters. It's not breaking any molds, but you'll have a good enough time!


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    🌴 Perfectly passable weekend watching.

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    🌴 John Cena's new hair is doing the work!

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    🌴 Several laugh out loud moments.


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    🌴 Don't expect anything new here.

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    🌴 Comedy writers are strangely obsessed with Cena's butthole?

"There's absolutely nothing special about this movie" feels unnecessarily cruel, but Vacation Friends is just the latest entry in the long, long list of films that aren't going out of their way to break any molds. If the team behind the film tries to make it seem like something it's not, that can be hugely detrimental to the overall enjoyment of the property. But, in Vacation Friends' case, everyone seems to know exactly what it is. You've seen this movie before, you know every beat that's coming down the pipeline, but this time you get to watch it unfold with John Cena, Lil Rey Howery, Meredith Hagner, and Yvonne Orji. The combination of knowing exactly what it is and its great cast makes Vacation Friends a success.

There's a good amount of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles' heart in this one (though admittedly less of its comedy). Marcus (Howery) plans a lavish vacation to propose to Emily (Orji), but their plans are quickly thwarted by flooding thanks to their rambunctious upstairs neighbors. Horrified that the proposal ran amiss but elated by Emily's "yes," Ron (Cena) and Kyla (Hagner) decide to treat the new fiances to a boat trip that escalates into a whole vacation worth of shenanigans. The uptight Marcus finally lets loose on their trip, but it turns out that it might be more loose than he or Emily were really ready for. All the same, the trip comes to an end and the two look forward to going back to their normal lives. Ron and Emily, on the other hand, have other plans.

The odd vacation couple splits, but Ron and Emily are bound and determined to ensure that their new best friends have the wedding of their life. There's more to these two than meets the eye, but all Marcus can see in Ron is an overbearing busybody with no boundaries, and Emily just kind of wishes Kyla would turn it down approximately ten notches. As you'd expect, all the standard hijinks ensue from their respective pairings.

Vacation Friends gets by on the cast's charisma. Cena remains a hugely underrated comedic actor, while Howery is out here doing what he does best. Being able to elevate a predictable story into something passable ain't nothing to sneeze at, and the whole cast rises to the challenge. One day we'll better understand why comedy writers are so interested in John Cena's butthole, but for now it remains the mystery of our time!

This isn't the type of movie that I'd tell folks to run, not walk to if it were exclusively in theaters. However, that's not the case here. Vacation Friends is a Hulu original, and is perfectly passable streaming material if you're sitting at home this weekend wondering what to watch. I had fun! I'm not going to tell you to prioritize it over something you're hugely excited for, but it's a nice, easy watch if you just need to check out for a little bit and giggle with an extremely fun cast of players. 

Amelia Emberwing

Amelia is an entertainment Streaming Editor at IGN, which means she spends a lot of time analyzing and editing stories on things like Loki, Peacemaker, and The Witcher. In addition to her features and editorial work, she’s also a member of both the Television Critics Association and Critics Choice. A deep love of film and television has kept her happily in the entertainment industry for 7 years.