Five Favorite Films

Yvonne Orji's Five Favorite Films

The scene-stealing star of Insecure and new comedy Vacation Friends shares her love of sharp rom-coms, an MCU legend, and a '90s classic.

by | August 26, 2021 | Comments

Yvonne Orji

(Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/2021 MTV Movie and TV Awards/Getty Images for MTV/ViacomCBS)

Anyone who’s been watching Insecure for the past four seasons knows just how low-key funny Yvonne Orji can be. As Molly, Issa’s BFF on the show, the Emmy-nominated actress has proven time and time again that she can wring a laugh out of a mere eyebrow raise. With the HBO series coming to an end later this year, Orji has been wasting no time finding ways of flexing her broader comedic muscles. See, for instance, her comedy special Momma, I Made It! And now, Vacation Friends.

This Clay Tarver-directed comedy finds Orji’s Emily and her soon-to-be-fiancé Marcus (Lil Rel Howery) having their perfectly (and so-painstakingly-planned) tropical holiday first ruined and later saved by a reckless, devil-may-care couple (John Cena and Meredith Hagner), who know nothing of personal boundaries and everything about coke-rimmed-margaritas. Offering a couples twist on a buddy comedy, Vacation Friends finds humor and heart in Ron and Emily’s journey toward embracing what Cena and Hagner’s Ron and Kyla bring out in them, even during their increasingly derailed wedding weekend. Like a true ensemble comedy, Vacation Friends lets its four leads shine; Cena and Hagner may get the more outlandish moments (involving, say, a bong on a jet ski) but shouldn’t detract from the deliciously hilarious straight-man act Howery and Orji get to play. 

Ahead of the movie’s release, the Insecure actress spoke with Rotten Tomatoes about her favorite films. It’s clear Orji has a soft spot for romance and comedy – and for brilliant actresses who can make you swoon and laugh in equal measure. This is a list, after all, that features Janet Jackson, Julia Roberts, Sanaa Lathan, Regina Hall, Kristen Dunst, Lupita Nyong’o, and Regina King, to just mention a few!


Yvonne Orji’s Five Favorite Films


Love & Basketball (2000)

84%

I know every single word. That was the first movie I ever watched the director’s commentary for. And then, Gina Prince-Bythewood! When I met Gina Prince-Bythewood I was like, “I love you, and also, can we work together? And also, if you ever lose your original footage, I can be Monica!” She was like, “Uh… let’s hit pause.” 

I really love it because it shows male heartbreak, which I don’t think is something we get to see a lot. And then, it was also that thing of, sometimes people can be really good but there’s something still missing. And you’re allowed to not know what that something is but just know that something’s missing and then when you find it there’s no word for it. You just know it’s right. So I really like that delineation of character.

Mona Lisa Smile (2003)

34%

I love it because I am the Julia Roberts character in this movie. I am such a proponent of like, what else do you want to do? And what I love about the movie is that even though it was empowering to be like, you can be more, there is something also freeing about choice. It’s like, I understand I can do more. I’m also very satisfied and happy with what is presented to me. But I am definitely the Julia Roberts character, pushing people: what do you want to do with your life?

Black Panther (2018)

96%

[Makes “Wakanda Forever” gesture.] I mean, Chadwick (may he rest in peace), he was amazing. Just brilliant. 

Poetic Justice (1993)

34%

We really needed more Tupac Shakur movies. We did. He was gone too soon. As a Black person watching these amazing musicians come together and have this road trip and dissect love and the nuances and the intricacies – this was great.

Manuel Betancourt for Rotten Tomatoes: Just from the looks of it, it seems you all had a great time shooting Vacation Friends. What was your favorite part to shoot?

Yvonne Orji: All of the stuff we shot in Puerto Rico. You know,  I was just finishing my last comedy tour, and I was like, I need a break. And then I was like, Oh, this isn’t really a vacation because I’m still working. But at least we’re somewhere tropical and it looks beautiful. But yeah, all the Puerto Rico stuff was definitely fun to shoot.


Vacation Friends begins streaming on Hulu from Friday August 27, 2021.

Thumbnail image: Matt Winkelmeyer/2021 MTV Movie and TV Awards/Getty Images for MTV/ViacomCBS, ©Fox Searchlight, © Columbia, © Marvel / © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures


On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

Tag Cloud

Infographic See It Skip It screen actors guild Fall TV adventure 2017 fresh breaking bad Baby Yoda ratings The CW Family Animation Sundance Now twilight all-time Star Trek 20th Century Fox National Geographic Mary poppins adenture diversity The Walt Disney Company Horror Mary Poppins Returns Spike south america aliens docudrama TCA 2017 Character Guide Comics on TV The Witch Amazon Prime Video NYCC Teen IMDb TV Black Mirror Lifetime rotten movies we love chucky Hulu Lionsgate 2020 The Purge Binge Guide blockbuster what to watch Tumblr remakes best unscripted debate binge action-comedy satire Amazon Prime criterion award winner Cannes canceled TV shows spider-verse Polls and Games genre cancelled TV series Awards Tour superman streaming movies aapi kong Interview strong female leads basketball Apple teaser Spectrum Originals cars spy thriller Reality ViacomCBS CBS All Access robots finale Paramount Plus CBS 21st Century Fox dc 73rd Emmy Awards Awards cops stand-up comedy Chernobyl Action Schedule golden globes boxoffice disaster Academy Awards Heroines TV news Mary Tyler Moore PlayStation Epix toronto transformers Arrowverse joker Summer Peacock Superheroes Video Games documentaries concert Drama golden globe awards worst Comic Book kids Disney Britbox cancelled television CNN slashers worst movies WarnerMedia king arthur tv talk elevated horror Travel Channel Trophy Talk Cartoon Network Red Carpet nfl batman name the review cinemax Funimation GIFs Star Wars dreamworks PBS richard e. Grant Logo FXX LGBTQ Trivia football Sony Pictures comedies streaming ABC BAFTA 1990s hollywood Rocky comic books Warner Bros. mob sequel USA Creative Arts Emmys Marvel rt labs TV renewals mission: impossible cults rt archives TLC new zealand IFC theme song Vudu supernatural mutant justice league Fantasy cancelled TV shows YA First Look video on demand GLAAD popular SundanceTV 93rd Oscars Pride Month VICE archives anime renewed TV shows Tarantino E! crime Disney+ Disney Plus BBC One Paramount Network foreign miniseries BET Trailer Tokyo Olympics documentary 2019 Apple TV+ comics scorecard book adaptation Apple TV Plus dark space quibi hispanic Disney streaming service Podcast AMC Neflix jamie lee curtis game show Esquire Anna Paquin reviews movies hist blaxploitation sag awards rotten comic President Quiz target OWN Mystery superhero a nightmare on elm street prank 99% asian-american black comedy women live action comic book movie blockbusters festival gangster romantic comedy ABC Family biopic telelvision true crime Lucasfilm Thanksgiving psychological thriller historical drama science fiction reboot vampires scene in color History zombie Emmy Nominations spanish Netflix Columbia Pictures Showtime Rock Syfy El Rey posters docuseries king kong Holiday toy story rt labs critics edition video Box Office 45 RT21 WGN animated ghosts pirates of the caribbean Pop TV dragons Television Academy 007 VH1 scary wonder woman Rom-Com international 2015 GoT Country black sitcom APB thriller MSNBC trailers cooking 2018 war 2021 NBA mockumentary royal family versus indie Exclusive Video Certified Fresh Discovery Channel Spring TV hidden camera james bond A&E 24 frames medical drama laika jurassic park RT History Sundance Bravo nature X-Men directors Song of Ice and Fire sequels CMT SDCC Fox News DC streaming service saw Best and Worst Martial Arts Premiere Dates HBO Max Amazon Studios spider-man facebook critics FX crossover live event A24 YouTube Red Broadway olympics television TruTV critic resources The Walking Dead 4/20 NBC DC Comics Kids & Family natural history YouTube Marathons godzilla screenings HBO period drama Classic Film vs. Grammys obituary Pixar feel good Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt die hard latino Set visit crime drama E3 lord of the rings Pet Sematary First Reviews Mudbound free movies Super Bowl emmy awards Photos OneApp BET Awards legend Starz IFC Films Pirates scary movies Valentine's Day zombies FOX YouTube Premium Sneak Peek 72 Emmy Awards Pacific Islander Biopics Election San Diego Comic-Con Emmys Legendary New York Comic Con Nickelodeon Turner festivals game of thrones Hallmark TV One Crunchyroll Nominations LGBT Shondaland TCA Music Winners Musicals politics Adult Swim Superheroe BBC ITV PaleyFest Endgame Opinion Ghostbusters Ellie Kemper Rocketman Brie Larson parents police drama nbcuniversal TCA Awards Stephen King Tubi sopranos Black History Month Image Comics child's play Countdown films doctor who deadpool comic book movies CW Seed Wes Anderson Western Tomatazos Oscars halloween fast and furious Comedy new star wars movies cancelled Reality Competition MCU new york Christmas Hallmark Christmas movies ID TV Land TIFF SXSW Disney Channel canceled Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Walt Disney Pictures marvel cinematic universe suspense dramedy BBC America spain japan HBO Go VOD Disney Plus 71st Emmy Awards biography social media Amazon composers universal monsters travel FX on Hulu sports Sci-Fi Calendar Comic-Con@Home 2021 talk show based on movie 90s Holidays Paramount Masterpiece zero dark thirty marvel comics anthology monster movies DC Universe Hear Us Out kaiju werewolf 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards mcc ABC Signature Film Festival ESPN cartoon italian Food Network Extras franchise independent Lifetime Christmas movies young adult singing competition Ovation cats American Society of Cinematographers art house Instagram Live Shudder boxing Fox Searchlight high school rom-coms The Academy spanish language Sundance TV slasher children's TV heist movie Dark Horse Comics MTV Crackle series halloween tv AMC Plus TBS Turner Classic Movies australia hispanic heritage month Universal Pictures Writers Guild of America comiccon Mindy Kaling adaptation technology Comedy Central Nat Geo TCM revenge Television Critics Association movie christmas movies TV movies TNT Film DGA Captain marvel japanese Netflix Christmas movies stoner Marvel Television spinoff Cosplay Watching Series indiana jones TCA Winter 2020 Elton John Freeform Alien classics Year in Review harry potter Women's History Month political drama Marvel Studios Toys USA Network psycho know your critic serial killer Acorn TV witnail DirecTV venice green book dexter discovery Pop Avengers dogs Musical romance french 2016 book razzies The Arrangement stop motion dceu crime thriller Winter TV Universal casting