Movie Reviews

Vacation Friends 2 Review: A Chaotic Escapade with Bits of Laughter

Vacation Friends 2 reunites audiences with the quirky quartet of vacation buddies who brought chaos and laughter in the first installment. The film takes viewers on a rollercoaster ride of uncontrollable hilarity and unexpected twists. While the premise holds promise, it struggles to strike a balance between uproarious comedy and meaningful character development, resulting in a sequel that falls short of its potential.

The film revolves around Marcus (Lil Rel Howery) and Emily (Yvonne Orji), a newly married couple, who invite their wild and uninhibited vacation pals, Ron (John Cena) and Kyla (Meredith Hagner), for an extravagant Caribbean getaway. As the stage is set for a series of comedic escapades, the plot takes an unexpected turn with the unannounced arrival of Kyla’s recently released incarcerated father, Reese (Steve Buscemi). The chaos that ensues puts a dent in Marcus’ meticulously planned vacation and forces the group to confront their past mistakes and unresolved issues.

The Good:

Vacation Friends 2 (2023).

One of the film’s strengths is the impeccable comedic timing and chemistry among the cast members. Lil Rel Howery delivers a relatable performance as Marcus, the straight-laced character whose plans are constantly thwarted by the impulsive Ron. John Cena’s physical humor and deadpan delivery add a layer of hilarity to every scene he’s in. The interactions between these two characters create some genuinely funny moments that will have viewers chuckling.

Meredith Hagner’s portrayal of Kyla brings a sense of unpredictability to the group, while Steve Buscemi’s portrayal of Reese is a standout surprise. Buscemi’s presence adds depth to the film, allowing it to touch on themes of family, redemption, and personal growth. However, despite their individual strengths, the chemistry between the characters occasionally feels forced, making some of the emotional beats less impactful than intended.

The Bad:

Vacation Friends 2 (2023).

Clay Tarver’s direction maintains a frenetic pace that mirrors the chaos of the characters’ vacation. While this approach amplifies the comedic elements, it also contributes to the film’s uneven tone. At times, the narrative seems rushed, preventing the characters’ personal journeys from unfolding naturally. The film’s attempts to balance uproarious humor with introspection often result in jarring transitions that hinder the overall flow.

The sequel’s attempt to delve deeper into the characters’ backstories and growth is commendable, yet it lacks the subtlety needed to execute such development effectively. Marcus and Emily’s strained relationship dynamics, Ron’s attempts at maturity, and Kyla’s struggles with her past all provide moments of genuine emotion. However, these moments are often overshadowed by slapstick humor and over-the-top antics. As a result, the characters’ personal journeys feel incomplete and their resolutions rushed.

Vacation Friends 2 makes an effort to explore themes of friendship, forgiveness, and personal responsibility. The unexpected presence of Reese allows the film to examine the impact of parental influence on adult children and the complexities of reconciling with a troubled past. However, the film struggles to strike a balance between these deeper themes and the desire to generate laughter. As a result, some potentially poignant moments are lost in the shuffle of chaotic events.


In the end, Vacation Friends 2 offers moments of genuine laughter and a cast that gives it their all. The chemistry between the characters, particularly Marcus and Ron, provides some memorable comedic sequences that will resonate with audiences. However, the film’s inability to find a harmonious balance between uproarious humor and meaningful character development hampers its overall impact.

Vacation Friends 2 Review: A Chaotic Escapade with Bits of Laughter
  • Acting - 7/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 6/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 4/10
  • Setting/Theme - 5/10
  • Watchability - 7/10
  • Rewatchability - 3/10
User Review
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