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Hulu Finally Has Momentum. Why Won’t Disney Unleash Its Full Potential?

Hulu's 2017 Emmy After Party
Photo by Todd Williamson/Getty Images for Hulu
Matthew Belloni
September 2, 2021

Have you seen Vacation Friends? For whatever reason, the Hulu algorithm has been insisting that I check out this movie. Maybe it’s because I recently watched the equally raunchy second season of Dave, or maybe Vacation Friends is being pushed on everyone because it’s the first film from Disney’s 20th Century Studios to debut on Hulu.

Regardless, my wife and I watched it the other night. It … wasn’t for us, but something struck me about the film. Vacation Friends is basically the direct-to-video version of a traditional studio comedy: high concept; a couple of known actors (the theatrical version probably would have starred Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, not John Cena and Lil Rel Howery); professionally made; moderately fun; and almost instantly forgettable. In other words, it was like most Netflix films.