VACATION FRIENDS 2 (DISNEY+) (2023)
SYNOPSIS: Picking up a few months after the end of “Vacation Friends,” this uproarious sequel finds newly married couple Marcus (Howery) and Emily (Orji) inviting their uninhibited besties Ron (Cena) and Kyla (Hagner), who are also newly married and have a baby, to join them for a vacation when Marcus lands an all-expenses-paid trip to a Caribbean resort. His reason for traveling there in the first place is to meet with the owners of the resort to bid on a construction contract for a hotel they own in Chicago. But when Kyla’s incarcerated father Reese (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.
The money that goes to making Vacation Friends 2 should go to better use. Maybe the money from Hulu should go to several indie filmmakers or the WGA strike. Perhaps even charity. In short, nobody needs a sequel to the tepid Vacation Friends.
Set shortly after the first, Marcus (Lil Rel Howery) and Emily (Yvonne Orji) has invited their hard-partying friends, Ron (John Cena) and Kyla (Meredith Hagner) on an all-expenses paid trip to a Caribbean resort. In actual fact, Marcus is meeting the head of a Korean conglomerate at the resort to discuss the possibility of building a resort in his hometown, Chicago. The meeting is supposed to take place four days after but the Vice President, Yeon (Ronnie Chieng) decides to bring things forward.
As if there’s not enough trouble for Marcus, Kyla’s father, Reese (Steve Buscemi) who has just been released from jail joins them on the resort.
Honestly, after sitting through nearly two hours of Vacation Friends 2, we can’t really decipher what’s particularly funny or absurd that it deserve the audiences time. The whole movie tries hard to deliver something provocative maybe like The Hangover. But the moment never arrive. Not a gag, a one-liner or anything. A potential surfing went wrong gag just appear and sort of quietly vanishes, another gag involving cocaine also ends up being a flop.
Mostly, it’s Marcus getting angry and exasperated, his wife Emily doesn’t want a baby if you are keen on this part of the story. Ron is busy trying to win over his up-to-no-good father-in-law. Despite being a new mom, Kyla tends to leave their baby to Maurillo (Carlos Santos), the hotel concierge from the first one and the only pathetic reason why his character returned for the sequel.
As with all sequels, the second instalment gets bigger with a finale that’s equipped with drug dealers, dirty money, explosion and car chases. You know all these noisy shenanigans doesn’t make things any more entertaining, hilarious and meaningful.
The chemistry of the four leads remains the only draw especially John Cena who is destined to be quite a versatile actor. Other than that, there shouldn’t be a need for Vacation Friends 2 at all.
Review by Linus Tee