Despite some uneven pacing and a few meant-to-be-funny clunkers, this comedy squeaks out the laughs thanks to a blend of quirky characters and surreal situations.
Lil Rey Howery and John Cena make a surprisingly funny duo in Vacation Friends. Howery and Orji play straight couple to Cena's and Hagner's wacko shenanigans. The latter pair bring chaos, disaster and mind-altering antics wherever they go, including two drug trips that make for a couple of out-of-control and memorably entertaining sequences.
Howery's perennially put-upon good guy is the most relatable of the bunch, but Cena's mysteriously "weird but impressive" skillset (detecting the precise moment when a bird will poop or communicating with Mayan shamans) also add up to an endearing character. His military connection with Marcus's father-in-law is also amusing ("Permission to s--t my pants, captain." "Permission granted.").
The film won't be for everyone, and jokes about infertility, cancer, human trafficking, child abduction, and drug trafficking could rub some people wrong. But Vacation Friends has its moments and, maybe more surprisingly, its charm.
Read the full review at Common Sense Media.