'You know what you're going to get': WWE star, actor John Cena brings his physical skills to 'Vacation Friends' comedy

Entertainment

Yahoo News 27 August, 2021 - 07:29pm 30 views

Where did they film vacation friends?

Principal photography began in Georgia in March 2020. However, production was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Production resumed in September 2020, and concluded in October 2020. wikipedia.orgVacation Friends - Wikipedia

“I love it because you know what you're going to get when you see the movie,” Cena said at a press conference in advance of the movie’s release.

“I'll use Superbad, The Hangover, you could go on and on, you get what The Hangover is about…and what drew me to the script was, wow I'm really kind of focusing on trying to be present.”

Vacation Friends introduces us to Marcus and Emily, played by Lil Rel Howery and Yvonne Orji, who (you guessed it) go on a vacation to Mexico and are just about to get engaged. But those plans start to go awry when they meet fellow vacationers Ron and Kyla (John Cena and Meredith Hagner), who epitomize the concept of “living in the moment.” They say they’ve spent all their money on booking the biggest suite in the resort and have the more straight-laced Marcus and Emily tag along on their vacation, drug-induced debauchery.

Months after the vacation, Ron and Kyla showed up to Marcus and Emily’s wedding without receiving a formal invitation, creating even more chaos, but now in front of their entire family as well.

While Cena may not be showing off his latest and greatest WWE moves, the star praised the physical comedy written in the script by director and co-writer Clay Tarver, notably known for his work on the series Silicon Valley.

“Being a physical performer in the WWE, the reason we transcend so many borders is because you get the action,” Cena explained. “I think what Clay brilliantly did in the script was provide a ton of physical comedy.”

While Vacation Friends doesn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel in terms of comedies, the cast works well together, particularly Cena and Rel.

“Because I'm a big wrestling fan too,...he actually really loves what he does and I think just working with somebody else that loves what they do, and [is] so passionate about it, it made it easy for us to play,” Rel said about Cena. “I love the fact that John was open to trying things, having fun with it and whatever, even if it was the [silliest] thing, he did it.

“Hopefully we can be Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor.”

In terms of playing Marcus, Rel revealed that he liked playing someone who seemingly has things figured out but hasn’t had a chance to “let his hair down.”

“I like playing really irritated people,” Rel said.

“What you're going to see throughout the movie is just him kind of loosen up and that's what made Marcus really dope.”

Dame Lillard is stuck between a rock and a mediocre team.

"You don't want to make assumptions that something safe in a 25-year-old is safe in a 2-year-old," Rick Malley, an infectious disease expert said.

American Olympic gold medalist Sydney McLaughlin is engaged to former National Football League player Andre Levrone Jr.

A CNN reporter interviewed a senior ISIS-K commander two weeks before the deadly attack outside Kabul's airport on Thursday.

The actor spoke to Insider about filming the "hilarious" scene during the winter and being sprayed with water and glycerin so he'd look sweaty.

Multiple sources told E! News Kim Kardashian was not aware that controversial figures Marilyn Manson and DaBaby would play a part in Kanye West’s Donda listening event.

Jason Kidd says his relationship with Giannis Antetokounmpo goes beyond basketball.

Julius Randle's contract extension with the Knicks rewards him for an All-Star year, but could still turn into a steal for the team.

Hayes, who was arrested in Los Angeles last month, gasped, “I can’t breathe” multiple times before the officer removed his knee from Hayes’ neck.

It's strong evidence for anyone who used to think their teachers lived at school.

According to a fellow UFC alum, Cezar Ferreira entered the PFL Playoffs with a visible injury.

The actress and entrepreneur said there was an upside, despite the negativity.

Bautista tweeted, "Nah I'm good!!"when a fan said he should star in a film with Cena and The Rock. In a new video interview, Cena gave us a refreshing response.

Kathleen Turner reveals challenges of shooting her first movie "Body Heat" as the steamy neo-noir thriller turns 40.

The pilot said helping to evacuate Afghans was 'special,' and that he could relate to the situation they were in.

A new study released by Johnson & Johnson reveals some promising details that could potentially be used to fight against the highly transmissible Delta Variant.

If he worked in the private sector, Romney said he would require his employees to get vaccinated or regularly tested, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

"Sometimes a good ol car cry is needed while blasting Celine Dion after you drop your kids off," Kramer started off her Instagram post.

A Colorado woman charged with hiding 26 children behind a false wall at her day care center was found guilty of child abuse and other charges Thursday. Carla Faith was convicted of 26 counts of misdemeanor child abuse, a felony count of attempting to influence a public servant and a misdemeanor count of running a child care facility without a license, The Gazette reported. One of her employees also was convicted of 26 counts child abuse. Police went to Mountain Play Place in November 2019 after getting reports that it was caring for more children than allowed.

Read full article at Yahoo News

'You know what you're going to get': WWE star, actor John Cena brings his physical skills to 'Vacation Friends' comedy

Sportskeeda 27 August, 2021 - 07:26pm

“I love it because you know what you're going to get when you see the movie,” Cena said at a press conference in advance of the movie’s release.

“I'll use Superbad, The Hangover, you could go on and on, you get what The Hangover is about…and what drew me to the script was, wow I'm really kind of focusing on trying to be present.”

Vacation Friends introduces us to Marcus and Emily, played by Lil Rel Howery and Yvonne Orji, who (you guessed it) go on a vacation to Mexico and are just about to get engaged. But those plans start to go awry when they meet fellow vacationers Ron and Kyla (John Cena and Meredith Hagner), who epitomize the concept of “living in the moment.” They say they’ve spent all their money on booking the biggest suite in the resort and have the more straight-laced Marcus and Emily tag along on their vacation, drug-induced debauchery.

Months after the vacation, Ron and Kyla showed up to Marcus and Emily’s wedding without receiving a formal invitation, creating even more chaos, but now in front of their entire family as well.

While Cena may not be showing off his latest and greatest WWE moves, the star praised the physical comedy written in the script by director and co-writer Clay Tarver, notably known for his work on the series Silicon Valley.

“Being a physical performer in the WWE, the reason we transcend so many borders is because you get the action,” Cena explained. “I think what Clay brilliantly did in the script was provide a ton of physical comedy.”

While Vacation Friends doesn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel in terms of comedies, the cast works well together, particularly Cena and Rel.

“Because I'm a big wrestling fan too,...he actually really loves what he does and I think just working with somebody else that loves what they do, and [is] so passionate about it, it made it easy for us to play,” Rel said about Cena. “I love the fact that John was open to trying things, having fun with it and whatever, even if it was the [silliest] thing, he did it.

“Hopefully we can be Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor.”

In terms of playing Marcus, Rel revealed that he liked playing someone who seemingly has things figured out but hasn’t had a chance to “let his hair down.”

“I like playing really irritated people,” Rel said.

“What you're going to see throughout the movie is just him kind of loosen up and that's what made Marcus really dope.”

Dame Lillard is stuck between a rock and a mediocre team.

"You don't want to make assumptions that something safe in a 25-year-old is safe in a 2-year-old," Rick Malley, an infectious disease expert said.

American Olympic gold medalist Sydney McLaughlin is engaged to former National Football League player Andre Levrone Jr.

A CNN reporter interviewed a senior ISIS-K commander two weeks before the deadly attack outside Kabul's airport on Thursday.

The actor spoke to Insider about filming the "hilarious" scene during the winter and being sprayed with water and glycerin so he'd look sweaty.

Multiple sources told E! News Kim Kardashian was not aware that controversial figures Marilyn Manson and DaBaby would play a part in Kanye West’s Donda listening event.

Jason Kidd says his relationship with Giannis Antetokounmpo goes beyond basketball.

Julius Randle's contract extension with the Knicks rewards him for an All-Star year, but could still turn into a steal for the team.

Hayes, who was arrested in Los Angeles last month, gasped, “I can’t breathe” multiple times before the officer removed his knee from Hayes’ neck.

It's strong evidence for anyone who used to think their teachers lived at school.

According to a fellow UFC alum, Cezar Ferreira entered the PFL Playoffs with a visible injury.

The actress and entrepreneur said there was an upside, despite the negativity.

Bautista tweeted, "Nah I'm good!!"when a fan said he should star in a film with Cena and The Rock. In a new video interview, Cena gave us a refreshing response.

Kathleen Turner reveals challenges of shooting her first movie "Body Heat" as the steamy neo-noir thriller turns 40.

The pilot said helping to evacuate Afghans was 'special,' and that he could relate to the situation they were in.

A new study released by Johnson & Johnson reveals some promising details that could potentially be used to fight against the highly transmissible Delta Variant.

If he worked in the private sector, Romney said he would require his employees to get vaccinated or regularly tested, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

"Sometimes a good ol car cry is needed while blasting Celine Dion after you drop your kids off," Kramer started off her Instagram post.

A Colorado woman charged with hiding 26 children behind a false wall at her day care center was found guilty of child abuse and other charges Thursday. Carla Faith was convicted of 26 counts of misdemeanor child abuse, a felony count of attempting to influence a public servant and a misdemeanor count of running a child care facility without a license, The Gazette reported. One of her employees also was convicted of 26 counts child abuse. Police went to Mountain Play Place in November 2019 after getting reports that it was caring for more children than allowed.

"Vacation Friends" is a happy buddy comedy in a world where race doesn't matter. That's a problem

Salon 27 August, 2021 - 03:26pm

Tossing an interracial component into the mix generally changes the tone, though – unless, as in "Vacation Friends," the filmmakers ignore it entirely.

Clay Tarver's harmless flick marries the dual appeals of John Cena and Lil Rel Howery into a comedy of misread intentions and substance-fueled mishaps that begins at a Mexican resort and ending at a destination wedding at a lodge and spa on the outskirts of Atlanta.

Cena's Ron and his girlfriend Kyla (Meredith Hagner) are a couple of hedonists who cross paths with Howery's Marcus and his girlfriend Emily (Yvonne Orji of "Insecure") on the vacation during which Marcus intends to pop the question. Marcus plans every moment of his life meticulously, making his and Emily's crash into the devil-may-care Ron and Kyla both a blessing and a curse.

Ron is a gigantic goof who either doesn't read body language well or ignores it entirely, overpowering the smaller, meeker Marcus with his gigantic personality and boundless acts of kindness.

This is how he and Kyla insinuate themselves into Marcus and Emily's vacation, forcing them to toss all plans to the end and rip through their week in a crazed binge of drugs and alcohol. At the end of their trip Ron and Kyla think they've made new forever friends, which Marcus and Emily don't disclaim. That's how temporary vacation relationships work. Except in buddy comedies.

The Mexican vacation half of "Vacation Friends" operates on a framework employed in any number of films placing the buddies in question and their devoted partner (in Emily's case) or willing sidekick (which describes Kyla) in unfamiliar locations and, therefore, on a playing field that's more or less even. If you've seen classics like 1987's "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" or 1991's "What About Bob?" you have some notion of how this plays out.

Cena makes Ron a lovable Labrador with inexplicably deep pockets, the kind of confident guy who talks Marcus and Emily into precarious situations and gets Marcus comfortable enough to let go. Marcus steers into a few disasters in the bargain but everything turns out fine, largely because nothing matters. They're all Americans in a Mexican tourist town whose denizens cater to their rowdiness. 

It's when the film picks up seven months later at Marcus and Emily's wedding – which Ron and Kyla crash, figurative and actually – where the social dynamics get peculiar. That is, if you think about them, which is contradictory to the point of a buddy comedy.

But why shouldn't we? After all, one of the reasons interracial buddy comedies are a standard is because they create a fantasy of friendship between a white male protagonist and a Black male protagonist, let alone a white guy from Oregon and Black man who lives in Georgia, that in the real world would be highly unlikely. The women in these films are secondary figures, which is unfortunate. Orji is a wonderful comic actor whose talent is criminally underutilized here, while Hagner's bubbly slapstick, reminiscent of Goldie Hawn in her heyday, is overshadowed by Cena.

The "Vacation Friends" writers (Tom Mullen, Tim Mullen, Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley and Tarver) up the ante by making Ron and Kyla the minorities at an Atlanta-based wedding where the bride's family is significantly wealthier and more bourgeois than the groom's – and Emily's father Harold (Robert Wisdom) won't let him forget it.

Harold demonstrates a strain of WASP-y assimilationism that even his younger relatives can't quite get behind, including insisting that everyone embark on a formal fox hunt and then critiquing Marcus for not having the proper number of buttons on his jacket.

Ron, meanwhile, shows up looking like an actual hunter in camouflage and drabs. Nobody says a word, largely because he's already ingratiated himself with Harold by revealing that he served in the military.

After that (and before, actually) nothing Ron or Kyla say or do that's odd or tasteless is attributed to their whiteness, not even in jest. If their actions make them the center of attention, which frequently happens, everyone simply goes with it. Then again, the reason everyone likes them is because regardless of how loud or déclassé their behavior is, they're deferential and sweet to the family elders. Most never witness the times Ron oversteps his boundaries with Marcus, which is what all clowns do to the straight man of the pair in these movies.

Race never comes up. Not once. Whether that's a point of celebration or criticism depends what a person expects from a movie like this.

"Vacation Friends" has been in development since 2014 and was originally supposed to star Chris Pratt and Anna Faris in the roles Cena and Hagner play. This alone explains why the teaming of Cena and Howery comes across as energetically lopsided.

Less believable is the presentation of Black folks mounting a fox hunt, with hounds, in the woods, in Georgia, as, you know, something that happens at Black weddings. (This is not to say there isn't a Black family in existence with such traditions, but let's just say it's the first time I've seen it in a movie.)

Consider a few other factors, too. "Vacation Friends" represents the friendship subgenre of the interracial buddy comedy formula as opposed to the cop version immortalized in the likes of "Cop Out," the "Lethal Weapon" series, "48 Hours," "Beverly Hills Cop," or "Running Scared," to name a few.

In that sense it's more dependent on audiences perceiving the onscreen friendship to be more comfortably good-natured, especially in the current era. Next to the crackling chemistry Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor shared onscreen, Cena and Howery are bland as saltines. Then again, many of the gags Wilder and Pryor pulled in their movies wouldn't fly today. Hell, some of the racial humor in Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart's comedy "Get Hard" aged badly, and that movie was released in 2015.

However, here we are in 2021 with a perfectly serviceable comedy about Black people and white people mixing harmoniously with no problems whatsoever, written by white men for a cast that's mostly Black.

It's natural to take comfort in the simple humor of "Vacation Friends" without pondering everything its subtext implies, the positive and the questionable.

The affection fueling the friendship Ron assumes that Marcus shares comes from a touching place that, again, has nothing do to with race. Indeed, revealing that detail underscores the idea that Ron only sees Marcus' beautiful spirit and solid character. That's lovely.

But that does not match the current social atmosphere, and it doesn't trust Cena's and Howery's abilities to speak honestly and humorously about their very obvious differences in terms of upbringing, class and yes, race, and how those traits impact the way the world sees and treats each of them. These actors are audience favorites, evidenced in the number of summer movies they've showed up in lately. They could pull this off. It's a shame nothing in the script gives them a chance to do so.

Instead, "Vacation Friends" holds in place the idyll of a comfortable fantasy predicated upon the thinking that if nobody acknowledges the very real prejudices Ron and Marcus would have to overcome in order to forge a true friendship, even if only for a moment, then nobody else does either.

No movie is supposed to solve all these problems, and certainly not a dumb, fun dog days of August comedy release. The simple pleasure of buddy comedies rest in the way they allow us to forget our problems for about two hours and simply laugh our asses off at, say, Cena's Ron and Howery's Marcus tripping balls in a field while a crunchy Beastie Boys track bounces in the  background.

But in the ways I've mentioned, "Vacation Friends" joins a long list of such comedies that promote the fantasy that the racial strife between white people and Black people is a matter of perception, not reality.

In that view to be honest about the realities of the world these characters purport to travel and live in would be a downer. So instead of bringing candor and humor into this mix and trusting talented and able comic actors to handle such societal obstacles with grace and levity, they don't address them at all.

Instead what we get is a film with a mostly Black cast that assumes a level of racelessness as some white people imagine it  – a wonderful comedy about Black and white friendships for people who see no color, and love an opportunity to ignore their troubles and retreat from it all.

Melanie McFarland is Salon's TV critic. Follow her on Twitter: @McTelevision

Vacation Friends Review: Hilarious From Beginning to End

/FILM 27 August, 2021 - 02:00am

Vacation Friends is, at its core, a buddy comedy with two couples as the leads, and the chemistry between them is brilliant, which sells even the most over-the-top sequences because you're already invested. Vacation Friends is everything you expect and yet, unlike anything you are expecting all at the same time, its moment-to-moment skewering of your expectations is part of why the blend of surreal and physical comedy works so well. Throw in some family comedy and a bit of slapstick and you've got a comedy that consistently delivers laughs from beginning to end, and easily ranks as one of my favorite comedies of the year.

The film follows Emily (Yvonne Orji) and Marcus (Lil Rel Howery), a couple looking to enjoy some time away on vacation, though Marcus also wants to use this time to propose to Emily. Pretty much nothing goes right from the time they get to the resort, though, and that's where they meet Kyla (Meredith Hagner) and Ron (John Cena). From there, the pace picks up and Marcus and Emily go on a wild ride that pushes them out of their comfort zone in numerous ways, but every time you think the film is going one direction, it swerves just before taking the full turn.

Director Clay Tarver toys with the audience at several different points throughout the film, suggesting that things are about to take a very dark turn in the story, and, each and every time, the film hooks you before delivering a big "sike!" The constant waiting for the other shoe to drop helps keep you invested in the group's ongoing story, and it allows the more lighthearted moments and physical comedy to land with more impact.

Speaking of physical comedy, there's quite a bit of it here, including several stellar scenes involving Howery and Cena. There's an art to physical comedy, and both stars simply knock it out of the park, including one sequence that has Howery choking Cena where Cena falls to the floor like a stack of lumber, and it all comes together brilliantly.

Even when you know what's coming, like in one particular sequence involving a boat, Tarver finds a unique perspective and approach that still allows it to land with the necessary punch. I rewatched that scene three times, and each time it somehow got even funnier, despite seeing what was going to happen from a mile away. Another one of these happens with a pistol earlier in the film, and, again, the sequence still sings despite knowing the outcome.

Much of that is a credit to the chemistry of the movie's cast. Howery and Orji complement each other well, and it's Emily that pulls Marcus through this wild adventure even more than Ron and Kyla. When Ron and Kyla are in the picture, though, they are simply delightful, and Hagner and Cena's performances allow two characters who should be viewed as obnoxious in many ways to instead be viewed as endearing, charming, and genuine. Sure, they make some questionable decisions, but, not going to lie, despite understanding Marcus and Yvonne's frustration with them, I was rooting for Kyla and Ron all the way by the film's end.

The movie's other running threads, like Henry (Robert Wisdom) disliking Marcus, Marcus' ongoing feud with Emily's brother Gabe (King Bach), and Marcus' co-workers not being invited to the wedding, all add something unique and fun to the mix and set up memorable scenes like the fox-hunting sequence that results in some of the most quotable lines in the film.

Vacation Friends isn't perfect, mind you, as certain spots feel a bit prolonged for the sake of it, and a trim here and there wouldn't have hurt the overall movie in any way. Gabe was a delight in the few scenes he's in, but more screen time would've been welcome, and not every joke lands, either.

That said, there are far more hits than misses, and I was laughing all the way through to the end. Vacation Friends is what you expect from an ensemble comedy, but the film wears its heart on its sleeve, spinning even the most surreal and over-the-top sequences into something heartfelt and sincere by the end. I simply can't wait to watch this again, and think you'll enjoy the ride just as much as I did.

Vacation Friends is available to stream on Hulu now.

Copyright 2021 ComicBook.com. All rights reserved.

Entertainment Stories