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‘Vacation Friends’ is a wild and funny Hulu film

In this raw and raunchy comedy, strait-laced Marcus and Emily are befriended by wild, thrill-seeking partiers Ron and Kyla at a resort in Mexico. Living in the moment, the usually level-headed couple lets loose to enjoy a week of uninhibited fun and debauchery with their new “vacation friends.” Months after their walk on the wild side, Marcus and Emily are horrified when Ron and Kyla show up uninvited at their wedding, creating chaos and proving that what happens on vacation, doesn’t necessarily stay on vacation.

Chicago native Lil Rel Howery and “Insecure” alum Yvonne Orji are Marcus and Emily, a couple whose lives are turned upside down with the forced intrusion of Ron and Kyla, played by John Cena and Meredith Hagner.

This is a funny film, although some content isn’t suitable for young folks, given that it is “R” rated. Marcus and Emily run across some bad luck when they reach Mexico and find that the luxury room that Marcus had reserved has been flooded, because the penthouse accommodations above his room had a mishap with the hot tub. As the couple are lamenting their situation in the lobby of the hotel, Marcus tries to save the moment by proposing to Emily, and they are approached by the wild, white and wantonly irresponsible couple—Ron and Kyla.

Marcus owns a construction company in Chicago, and they could probably not afford the penthouse, so when Ron and Kyla invite them to share their spacious room with them, Marcus and Emily begrudgingly accept. This acceptance just opens itself up to a wild week in Mexico, led by Ron and Kyla who seem to have no filters—boozing, partying and drugging is nothing for them. Think the edges of margarita glasses lined in cocaine!

After near-death experiences and a final drug-hazed night in Mexico, Marcus and Emily bid their friends farewell, thinking they would never see them again. But Ron and Kyla find out about the destination wedding location in Atlanta, and they crash the wedding. And even with their off-handed, “white-boy humor” type jokes, Ron and Kyla are welcomed into the fold by the other guests and family members. This doesn’t sit well with Marcus and Emily. Consequently, after a few more mishaps and embarrassing moments leading up to the wedding day, things run off the rails. Marcus and Emily finally berate their “friends” and order them to leave.

The ending presents a lesson in humility for all. Initially, I wasn’t going to like this film, because it played out as the white couple putting the Black couple in precarious situations in which they would not normally engage—and situations about which if cops are called, the Blacks are swiftly detained. And when Ron and Kyla crash the wedding, I thought it was so disrespectful. But I had to abandon that line of thinking and just look at “Vacation Friends” as a fun-filled movie where the four—as many people do—go on vacation and let loose and pray that their indiscretions don’t catch up with them.

Lil Rel Howery, whose given name is Milton Howery, Jr., is great in this film, and I like the fact that he has taken on not just comedic roles, but he is sharpening his acting chops in many film genres. Other stars are Robert Wisdom as Harold, Andrew Bachelor as Gabe, and the iconic, ageless, beautiful Lynn Whitfield as Suzanne.

“Vacation Friends” is 20th Century Studios’ first film to have a simultaneous global release on the Hulu (U.S.) and Disney+/Star (International) streaming platforms. Look for it on Hulu on August 27.

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