Back in the summer of 2021, when we were all locked away at home, unable to head off to sunny locations like Mexico for our summer holidays, 20th Century Studios released “Vacation Friends” on Disney’s streaming services around the world.  A rated R comedy that brought together two couples, Marcus (Lil Rel Howery) and Emily (Yvonne Orji), and Ron (John Cena) and Kyla (Meredith Hagner), who seemed like polar opposites but bonded over an incredible vacation, which generally involved lots of drink, drugs and antics that you could only get away with on holiday.

Now, a couple of years later, we’ve got its uniquely named sequel, “Vacation Friends 2”, which was originally going to be called Honeymoon Friends, since both couples are newly married.  And in this film, Marcus has been invited to a lovely Caribbean resort to pitch for a new construction job from a large Korean hotel chain, and thinking that he had a few days to spare before the meeting, he invited his new besties along to enjoy the resort.

But as you might expect, not everything goes according to plan, as the hotel chain owner is flying in early, and while Marcus had planned for his uninhibited best friends to be long gone by then, now he is trying to keep them all apart, in order to get the construction bid.  However, when Kyla’s incarcerated father, Reese (played by Steve Buscemi), is released from San Quentin and shows up at the resort unannounced at the worst possible moment, things get out of control, upending Marcus’ best-laid plans and turning the vacation friends’ perfect trip into total chaos. 

And it’s the introduction of Reese that, for me, just sent this film on a downward spiral, since Reese is up to no good and trying to recover some stolen money, which brings in a local criminal gang.  This leads the film to move in a different direction, which I feel went against the idea of what the initial film was all about.  There were some crazy antics in the first film, but in the sequel, it completely jumped the shark and just wasn’t as fun.

Had the film just focused on the couples and Marcus trying to keep his future business partners at arm’s length from his best friends, it felt more in keeping with the original and was funnier.  Adding Reese’s subplot just seemed unnecessary.    Speaking of unnecessary, this film brought the hotel manager from the first film, Maurillio (Carlos Santos), along as a guest of Marcus, seriously, who invites a hotel manager from a previous vacation to come on their honeymoon with them?  And basically, the only reason Maurillio is there, is basically as an easy way of passing Emily’s and Ron’s baby off-screen, so they can continue with getting drunk!

I really enjoyed the first film, as it was a fun, easygoing comedy movie, that you just don’t see as many of any more, since the format has generally been shifted to straight to streaming.  But “Vacation Friends 2” just doesn’t have that same spark. It’s not as funny, and while John Cena steals the show, it just doesn’t have the charm or warmth of the original.  It’s ok, it’s certainly a film I’d recommend watching if you enjoyed the first film, but it’s just not as good.

Overall, “Vacation Friends 2” is a pretty average comedy.  It might be a sequel we never needed, but there are plenty of funny moments throughout the film.  It’s unlikely to be a film you’ll want to watch again or probably even remember, but grab some snacks, a drink and just chill out with a fun, silly movie.

Rating:   3 Out Of 5

“Vacation Friends 2” is out now on Hulu in the United States, on Star+ in Latin America and on Disney+ around the world.

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Roger Palmer

Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom. Email: Twitter: Facebook:

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