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VACATION FRIENDS: 3 ½ STARS. “much-needed getaway from real life.”  

“Vacation Friends,” a new rude and raunchy comedy now streaming in Disney+, is a riff on the old saying, ‘Whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” But instead of Vegas, the setting is Mexico, and instead of leaving bad behavior behind, Marcus (Lil Rel Howery) and Nancy (Anna Maria Horsford) would like to leave their new “friends” Ron (John Cena) and Kyla (Meredith Hagner) behind.

Strait-laced construction boss Marcus wants to surprise his girlfriend Nancy with a marriage proposal at a fancy Mexican resort. To set the scene he books a beautiful hotel room, iced champagne and rose pedals strewn around the bedroom. Unfortunately, the big surprise is something he didn’t plan, a flood. The jacuzzi upstairs in the Presidential Suite overflowed, turning Marcus and Nancy’s dream vacation room into a soggy wasteland.

With no other rooms available, the pair accept an offer to bunk with perfect strangers Ron and Kyla, the party animals in the Presidential Suite. The two couples are polar opposites. Marcus and Nancy are kinda conservative vs. the thrill-seeking Ron and Nancy who rim their Margueritas with cocaine. They are thrown together by circumstance but a few gallons of tequila later they’re all “vacation friends,” and the Mexican adventure culminates with a wild, blackout night.

“You guys are in our lives now,” Ron says as they part ways at the airport. “Nothing can change that. I’ll remember this week forever.”

Marcus and Nancy, however, aren’t feeling the bond. “They we’re kind of fun on vacation,” Marcus says, “But not in the real world.”

The real world includes the high-end wedding Marcus and Nancy are throwing with the financial aid of Nancy’s tightly-wound parents. Ron and Kyla aren’t on the guest list… but that doesn’t stop them from bringing their own brand of chaos to Marcus and Nancy’s big day.

“Vacation Friends” is a sweet-natured film about friendship but is far racier than the usual Disney+ fare. Drugs and drinking are the bedrock of the Ron and Kyla’s vacation lifestyle so this one isn’t for the kids, even if it’s on Mickey’s channel.

Adults, though, should get a mild kick out of the odd couple buddy comedy. Howery and Horsford are the movie’s bedrock, Cena and Hagner, the wild cards. Together, the ensemble play-off one another, creating fun, situational comedy that takes advantage of Cena’s manchild persona and Howery’s tightly wound Marcus. Hagner draws some of the biggest laughs with Kyla’s disregard for the niceties of polite society.

“Vacation Friends” is lightweight but sweet and should provide a much-needed getaway from real life.


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