MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES
Director: Jake Szymanski
Starring: Zac Efron, Adam Devine, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Stephen Root, Stephanie Faracy, Sugar Lyn Beard, Marc Maron, Kumail Nanjiani
We’ve all been to that wedding where there’s some obnoxious family member or groomsman that’s had one too many drinks at the open bar and proceeds to make a scene. Zac Efron and Adam Devine (Pitch Perfect) are those kinds of guys in Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. Apparently this film is “inspired by the life stories” of two brothers who consider themselves “party creators” at these types of family functions. Mike Stangle (Devine) is a fairly successful liquor salesmen and his brother Dave (Efron) is part of the company as well. Their sister Jeanie (Beard) is getting married in Hawaii, and their parents have ordered the brothers to bring proper dates to the wedding in order to keep them in line. They’re a little offended at this concept, but they oblige by taking out a Craig’s List ad and You Tube video advertising a free trip to Hawaii for two girls looking to be their dates. Mike and Dave become viral celebs going so far as to being profiled on The Wendy Williams Show. Alice (Kendrick) and Tatiana (Plaza) just happen to be the two “nice girls” that win the trip. What the boys don’t know is that they are fully onboard the crazy train despite that clean and wholesome act they put on.
Just like Wedding Crashers and The Hangover before it, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates winds up being an outrageously funny film despite the easy slope of obnoxious territory it could go down. Maybe it helps knowing it’s not a wedding that I need to deal with in real life. There are some extreme moments in these kinds of films where you know certain events and casualties only happen in the movies. I am very curious as to how much of Mike and Dave is inspired by true stories. I feel like the basic premise of two brothers who put out a You Tube link looking for wedding dates is the truth and some of the more elaborate hijinks that ensue are made up for comedic purposes. It’s a film that lives in the present in 2016 with multiple references to dating apps/sites like: Grindr, Tinder, match.com, You Tube, and the likes. I feel a Catch-22 with this concept as it showcases the kind of society we live in where becoming a viral sensation is the norm in 2016. However, this definitive time stamp will only make it feel outdated in a few years when the dating scene changes again. Maybe this nitpicking is pointless for a movie called Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.
The film succeeds at bringing out those big belly laughs, and the four main stars are a big proponent of that. Of the four, Anna Kendrick stands out the most for playing completely against type. She has made a career of playing the perky wholesome girl, but here she gets to squash the goody goody reputation to get all down and dirty with Aubrey Plaza. Plaza definitely uses her standard brand of nutty humor and death stares that she used during her run on Parks and Recreation. It’s refreshing to see this type of role reversal with having the women play roles we typically associate with the likes of Seth Rogen, James Franco, or Jonah Hill. This should be a much-needed hit for Zac Efron who has had many of his recent movies like Neighbors 2, Dirty Grandpa, and We Are Your Friends bomb at the box office. He and Adam Devine are very much playing into their wheelhouse. There’s a unique quality to Devine and he definitely knows how to play into a character who starts to unravel a bit like Mike does. He previously starred with Kendrick in the Pitch Perfect movies. Silicon Valley vets Alice Wetterlund and Kumail Nanjiani also shine in smaller roles. Wetterlund plays the lusty Cousin Terry who will stop at nothing to put the moves on Plaza. Nanjiani has an unforgettable scene as a masseur.
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates may sound like a stupid movie, but it sure is funny in an R-rated way. It fits in with many of the recent comedies where many scenes are played through improv to see which insult comparison line or joke lands the best. Not every joke wins and some bits go on for too long, but lines like “You look like the twins from The Shining” or “She looks like Burn Victim Barbie” got an uproarious laughter from the audience. For a movie whose title explains it all, it works better than I had expected it to and just goes to show that we live in a day and age where anyone can be a viral celeb.
Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? If you need a raunchy comedy with big laughs and shirtless Zac Efron, this is your movie
RATING: 3.5 out of 5 TICKET STUBS