The ‘Vacation Friends’ Press Conference Was Just as Enjoyable as a Real Vacation

Directed by Clay Tarver, Vacation Friends stars Lil Rel Howery, Yvonne Orji, John Cena, and Meredith Hagner. The film was written by Tom Mullen, Tim Mullen, Clay Tarver, Jonathan Goldstein, and John Francis Daley. It begins streaming Friday, August 27 on Hulu. Ahead of the film’s release, The Nerds of Color got to ask the talent behind the new comedy a few questions at a virtual press conference.

Jessica Miglio/20th Century Studios

In this raw and raunchy comedy, strait-laced Marcus and Emily (Lil Rel Howery, Yvonne Orji) are befriended by wild, thrill-seeking partiers Ron and Kyla (John Cena, Meredith Hagner) at a resort in Mexico. Living in the moment, the usually level-headed couple lets loose to enjoy a week of uninhibited fun and debauchery with their new “vacation friends.” Months after their walk on the wild side, Marcus and Emily are horrified when Ron and Kyla show up uninvited at their wedding, creating chaos and proving that what happens on vacation, doesn’t necessarily stay on vacation.

At the press conference, I was able to speak with Clay Tarver, Lil Rel Howery, Yvonne Orji, and John Cena about the escapism in comedy, what they hope the film gives audiences, and why they felt this was the right time to release it. Keep reading to find out what they told me!

Jessica Miglio/20th Century Studios

Clay Tarver started by telling The Nerds of Color, “I think everyone’s ready for a good-vibe movie, you know? But we started this before all this stuff happened. So, I guess we sorta got lucky with the timing.”

Yvonne Orji continued by saying, “Same, I think the comments that… like, when we posted the trailer, most of the comments were like, ‘We can’t wait. We’re ready to just laugh.’ I mean obviously with the Delta strain and all the other variants coming up, I think people… some vacations have been cut short in real life. I think people are looking for just any kind of escapism and/or people having fun as well.  So, I think like you said Clay, we got lucky with the timing. I mean it took us 18 months to film.”

“Obviously, we had been on a normal schedule, this is probably around when it would have been released anyway. And going back to…  I think Yvonne makes a great point, because we’ve all had to modify what vacation means to us. But unless you’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. I think that’s what’s important about this film. I hope audiences are entertained and they laugh. That’s what I hope they take away,” John Cena answered in regards to what he hopes the film gives audiences. “If they want to get anything else, that’s great, but I hope they’re entertained and they laugh. I just think our subject matter is so relatable and so desperately needed right now, especially with people having to come up with plan B vacations and alter plans yet again. Here we are 18 months into the world changing. I think it’s gonna be good for people to just sit down and enjoy a film that might make them remember a moment of their life, smile a little bit, and laugh a little bit.”

Jessica Miglio/20th Century Studios

“Yeah, I mean I agree with everybody. I think it’s almost like this weird thing where like because of the way everything is going on in the world, it’s an escape. Also, telling you how you can vacation again,” Lil Rel Howery added. “I think audiences are going to enjoy just seeing…  It’s almost like a blueprint of what was fun and this movie is so funny. This is just really a straight up funny movie and laughter is so important right now. I think laughter is just good for the soul. I think people are really gonna enjoy this movie.”

Cena ended by expressing, “And in an extra sense, and this is just an added sense, I know folks will be watching internationally on Star and Disney+, being a physical performer in the WWE, the reason we transcend so many boarders is because you get the action. I think what Clay brilliantly did in the script was provide a ton of physical comedy. So, it’s also a movie that you can even not necessarily know what’s going on with the audio, see the movie, and laugh along with it because of the tremendous amount of physical comedy. I think that’s gonna help us around the world and hopefully we can make a lot more people laugh.”