Vacation Friends 2 Review: Cena & Howery Deliver On The Jokes In Fun Hulu Sequel

The locations will make anyone wish they were part of the adventure. Vacation Friends 2 has its flaws, but it finds a way to get a laugh out of us.

The team behind Vacation Friends returns for a sequel and does not disappoint. Writer-director Clay Tarver knows what audiences want and gives it to them in spades. Ronnie Cheng and Steve Buscemi join the already star-studded team and make their mark immediately. The central cast has all the same chemistry and the locations will make anyone wish they were part of this motley crew and their adventures. Vacation Friends 2 has its flaws, but always finds a way to get a laugh out of us.

After an unplanned and tumultuous road to friendship, Marcus (Lil Rel Howery), Emily (Yvonne Orji), Ron (John Cena), and Kyla (Meredith Hagner) finally go on a group trip together. However, this time around baby fever has struck both couples. Ron and Kyla have a newborn and have enlisted their friend Maurillio (Carlos Santos) to be the vacation babysitter. Meanwhile, Marcus and Emily are in the process of trying to get pregnant. Unbeknownst to everyone, two wild cards are about to throw a wrench in the entire trip. Marcus hasn’t told the group that he is actually on a business trip, not purely a vacation. To make matters worse, Emily’s dad Reece (Buschemi) crashes the party fresh out of prison. As the liquor and drugs start flowing Marcus’ presentation is at risk and Reece plots sketchy plans of his own.

Vacation Friends was a welcome surprise to the Hulu line-up and the sequel is no different. In the current movie landscape studio comedies are hard to find and even harder to nail a second time. Vacation Friends 2 is not perfect, but it does deliver on its promise. The story is coherent, the cast understands the assignment and the laughs come at a consistent clip. Tarver’s script leaves room for all the stars to shine as well as the newcomers. Cena and Hagner are the driving forces of most of the jokes, but Santos has a C-plot all to himself and makes the most of it. If the principal cast is the main ingredient, Santos, Chieng, and Buscemi are the special sauce. Vacation Friends 2 is not SuperbadAnchorman, or any other classic comedy to come out this century but in the 2020s we should be so lucky to have two of these films so readily available to stream.

The main story difference between Vacation Friends and Vacation Friends 2 is the insertion of a new plot involving a Caribbean drug dealer played by The Wire’s Jamie Hector. There is a case to be made that when comedies try and add plot lines like this they are doing too much, but in the case of Vacation Friends 2 it all works out seamlessly. Buscemi being the sketchy dad makes everything work coherently in terms of the more dramatic elements. Combined with the screen presence of Hector, Vacation Friends 2 safely stays in its lane while being an effective comedy.

John Cena is starting to make a case for being a consistent comedic actor. Between his work in the Vacation Friends franchise, Blockers, and his various cameos in films like Trainwreck, his hit rate as a funnyman is quickly outpacing his action reputation. Hagner is a guaranteed laugh when she is onscreen and Howery as the straight man is the perfect foil for both of them. Vacation Friends 2 doubles down on the dirty jokes of the original and delivers.

Vacation Friends 2 is streaming now on Hulu. The film is 105 minutes long and rated R for pervasive language, some sexual references, and drug use.

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