By Mark Saldana
Rating: 2.5 (Out of 4 Stars)
Much like Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates tries to put an end to the double standard that women are not supposed to be wild and raunchy while men can carry on as they like. Though I find this approach refreshing, it isn’t quite enough to completely redeem a film that often goes way over-the-top with some of its humor and overplays one of the main characters so much that I had trouble liking him. On the other hand, the film does have some genuinely funny and hilarious moments and the awesome performances by the female leads (Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick), help make the movie more enjoyable and palatable. Mike and Dave not only need wedding dates, but these characters also need better writing and direction.
Adam DeVine and Zac Efron star as Michael and David Stangle a pair of wild partying brothers who always manage to turn family get-togethers into party disasters. Their alcohol-fueled behavior and irresponsible natures often get them into trouble and their family has had enough. As the wedding of their sister Jeanie (Stephanie Beard) approaches, the Stangle family has an intervention with the bros and demands that they be on their best behavior and can only attend the wedding festivities in Hawaii if they have well-behaved wedding dates. In search of their perfect dates, the brothers post a cute ad on Craigslist. After the Stangle’s Craigslist ad goes viral and lands them on The Wendy Williams Show, the brothers attract the attention of Alice (Anna Kendrick) and Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) who are even wilder than the Stangles. The women pose as prim and proper ladies and get themselves a free trip to Hawaii. However, when the alcohol begins to flow, the girls let their freak flags fly.
Written by Andrew Jay Cohen, Brendan O’Brien, and directed by Jake Szymanski, Mike and Dave is supposedly inspired by true events; however, I get the strong impression that things didn’t go quite as crazy in reality as they do in the film. That seems to be the main issue with the comedy. The humor often gets so outlandish and absurd, that it is difficult to enjoy. There is a comedic sequence that revolves around an erotic massage at a spa, and this moment, though its starts off moderately funny, goes way over-the top that it just stops being funny. Adam DeVine, whose work I really enjoyed in Pitch Perfect, also goes way overboard with his acting as Mike Stangle. In addition, the fact that his character is so poorly developed in the story that I really could not stand him towards the end of the film.
On the positive end, I found Zac Effron’s Dave Stangle more endearing and likable, though the development of his character also suffers from inadequate writing. The more interesting characters in the film are Alice and Tatiana, and because the performances of Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick are so spot-on, they truly add to the enjoyment of the film. Aubrey Plaza’s deadpan delivery, badass attitude and sexy flirting with Mike makes for some of the film funniest moments. Anna Kendrick is adorable and hilarious as the sweet, but not-so-smart Alice. Her character has an interesting history with weddings and that backstory along with her enamoring personality make her the most lovable character in the film. She also has her own funny and hilarious moments in the film. Kendrick and co-star Stephanie Beard have an amazing scene together involving drugs and horses.
And even though the movie does have a few great comedic moments, in addition to the ludicrous ones, it is missing a solid story and plot. I cannot strongly recommend Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates for theatrical viewing. The movie earns its R rating for explicit sexual content, and strong language, so I’m sure more reserved and conservative audiences will absolutely despise it. As for those who enjoy that brand of humor, I think it is worth checking out, but it is a movie better left as a rental for viewing at home.