1. Howery’s facial expressions as straight-laced Marcus. The busy actor in movies ranging from “Get Out” and “Uncle Drew” to “Bad Trip” and “Free Guy” specializes in acting pained, annoyed and occasionally outraged by any ridiculous circumstance around him. In this case, he is frequently reacting to Cena’s antics as Ron or newcomer Meredith Hagner’s outbursts as Ron’s flighty girlfriend Kyla. “He plays off his back foot so well,” said director Clay Tarver said. “It’s a joy to see him irritated and put upon.”
2. The peppy, ever-jokey dynamic of the couple played by Cena and Hagner. Their pure wackiness helps loosen up Marcus and his fiancé Emily (Yvonne Orji) on their vacation, turning it into a week to remember. Ron and Kyla sub out cocaine for salt on the margaritas. Ron shoots a bottle off the top of the Marcus’ head ― for the heck of it! They spontaneously jump off a cliff, leading Marcus and Emily to follow suit. “You’re already bracing for something crazy to happen,” Tarver said. “Just as you start to relax, they go insane.”
3. The Rube Goldberg moment. Marcus is holding the wedding rings in his hand on a public street corner. It’s obvious he is going to lose them. The question is: how? The producers create a silly sequence of events involving a squirrel and a crow. “I did a rewrite of it in 2016,” Tarver said. “I got there on the day we shot it and wondered, ‘Was this a good idea? Maybe it’s a stupid idea!’ But once we shot it and had the visual effects put in, it really worked.”
4. The classic son-in-law/father-in-law interplay. There is no shortage of comic tension between Robert Wisdom’s haughty father-in-law character and insecure son-in-law Marcus. Some if it involves Marcus’ blue-collar parents and later, an inadvertent ingestion of a magic shroom. “Rel embraced the humiliation of it all,” Tarver said.
5. Waffle House jokes. The film’s ode to the Atlanta institution will make you yearn for some classic hash browns scattered, smothered and covered.