Vacation Friends is out now on Hulu and Star+ for those outside the US. The film is a hilarious adventure of two halves. One half is the vacation. The other is a wedding. It stars John Cena, Lil Rel Howery, Yvonne Orji, Meredith Hagner, Andrew Bachelor, Robert Wisdom, and is directed by Clay Tarver. The script was also by Tarver, Tim Mullen, Tom Mullen, Jonathan Goldstein, and John Francis Daley.
For the junket we had Cena, Orji, Bachelor, Wisdom (until internet issues knocked him out), Tarver, and Howery FaceTime’ed in mid junket. For a comedy, this project had some definite stressors working against it, but it all turned out well in the end.
Pandemic Shooting Affects Everyone
The film was one of the first productions to go back to work after the pandemic started. Everything shut down, but the cast and crew had to go to Puerto Rico to get back to work. John Cena described it like this:
And then the pandemic happened, and we shut down. We were one of the first productions to go back to work. And then we had those bonding moments of, like, yo what have you been doing for the last how many months. And like, this is-you’re the first people I’ve seen.
Another question about the pandemic from the junket had to do with what the film means for people going on vacation now. Obviously this film is releasing only on Hulu and Star+, it’s not going to theaters. So what does that mean for the cast and crew? Clay Tarver and John Cena had this to say:
Clay: I want to be clear, I wasn’t like, okay, there’s a pandemic coming, good for our film. [LAUGH]
John: Obviously we had, uh, had we been on a norm-normal schedule, this is probably around when it would have been released anyway. And-and, uh, going back to… I think Yvonne makes a great point, uh, because we’ve all had to modify what vacation means to us. But unless, um, you know, unless we’re a very young audience, who’s not gonna see this film, I think all of us know what vacation means. And all of us remember our vacation moments and people we may have met on vacation. And I think that’s what’s important about this film.
The Cast Is One Big Family And That Reflects The Film
The cast has a definite connection with one another that was only strengthened by their experiences during the pandemic. It also helps that they’re all hilarious in their own ways. John had big words for the comedic chops of the entire cast:
The cast is very gifted and-and all in their own-in their own discipline. You know, Bachelor has been making comedic content on the-on the internet for so long and become so successful like that. Meredith has such a presence on screen, and her comedic personality. Yvonne and Rel are both established standups. So I think I just kinda let everybody do what they do, and it’s-it’s very obvious in how to play comedy with me, you use a big guy, and the first piece of low-hanging fruit is you-you know, you go against the-the physical stereotypes or you lean into them.
If you’re in need of a laugh this weekend, you can’t go wrong with Vacation Friends on Hulu and Star+.
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