Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (2016)
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (2016)

Genre: Comedy Running Time: 1 hr. 38 min.

Release Date: July 8th, 2016 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Jake Szymanski Actors: Zac Efron, Adam Devine, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Stephen Root, Stephanie Faracy, Sugar Lyn Beard, Sam Richardson, Alice Wetterlund, Lavell Crawford

 


 

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erhaps going further than any other film to pointlessly emphasize its grounding in reality, “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” claims to be “based on real events.” The problem here is that nothing about the end result seems to exist in any sort of reality – not a raunchy comedy realm, an exaggerated boy-meets-girl romance, or even a misfits-gaining-popularity environment, much less real life. It’s almost like a cartoon in the way that slapstick occurrences turn from deadly to irrelevant in a matter of minutes (one of the characters has half her face practically torn off by an ATV tire, only to be nearly healed about a day later), or in the way people become disgusted by extreme recklessness and then immediately celebratory; serious predicaments are devised for familial conflict, only to be laughed away by some random, crude gag. And the premise is less convincing than those seen in “Mrs. Doubtfire” or “Big Momma’s House,” even though no one actually dresses up.

The introduction is one big college party montage, which segues into the plot with remarkable speed. Two liquor salesmen brothers (Zac Efron as Dave, and Adam Devine as Mike) have a knack for destroying every family gathering – not to be blamed on their inexcusable mindlessness or daredevilry, but on the fact that they show up stag, which somehow forces them to chase girls and cause destruction (usually of the property kind). As if somehow more believable in its modernity, their parents (Stephen Root and Stephanie Faracy) provide them with proof: a cut together, fully edited video of their detonative shenanigans and the ensuing havoc – one instance of which leads to the death of their grandfather. A quick joke later and the setup is complete: sister Jeanie’s (Sugar Lyn Beard) upcoming destination wedding in Hawaii will require that the two boys bring dates.

It’s unimaginable to think that the brothers’ last-minute acquisition of female partners from Craigslist (they place an ad that goes viral, giving them some 6000 responses and a guest appearance on The Wendy Williams Show) would prevent them from making a catastrophe of the wedding. It’s not their sex-crazed ambitions that lead to ruination, but simply their outrageous unintelligence. Like the duo from “Dumb and Dumber,” Mike and Dave can’t really function in normal society. So, of course, they meet their female counterparts, Alice (Anna Kendrick) and Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza), who similarly have a difficult time of blending in with other human beings (until the end, when, after instigating much upheaval, they fix everything and fall in love). Self-absorbed and oblivious to the outside world, as if permanently inebriated (surprisingly, they’re not continually drunk, despite nonstop drinking), these personas move through each scene with a single purpose: to prattle nonstop about graphic sexual items.

The dialogue is clearly meant to be the selling point, with the primary foursome exchanging plenty of insults and commentary laced with cursing and sex-related riffs. But it’s part of the problem. Never do their conversations sound funny or even creative; it’s just a lot of innuendo, double entendres, and impromptu dancing – as if making faces and spontaneously shimmying in place can effectively take the place of solid jokes. The end product is quite a bit like “Couples Retreat” but for teens, with its tropical setting and opportunities for oneupmanship, misadventures, and revelations. But there’s no consistency anywhere in the picture – whether its with physics, behaviors, comedy styles, or even nudity – which makes the the poignancy of realizations completely phony and the exposing of enormous lies entirely inconsequential. At least the outtakes are amusing.

– Mike Massie

  • 2/10