“Who are these girls?”
Yeah, the title Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is up there with the worst of ’em. And yeah, it’s a pretty poorly crafted movie. Although, there is something to be said about a film that can overcome these obstacles to still deliver humor. It’s a funny movie, one that has just as many technical flaws as scattered laughs, and eventually becomes the cutesy rom-com it seems to be toiling against the entire runtime. There’s an identity crisis going on here. So while Mike and Dave could have been a lot better as an overall film – like an antidote to this plagued genre – it works well enough to stand as an interim cure, lambasting the current craze of bro-centric sexual fantasies.
The competitive Stangle siblings know how to rile each other up, ruining family events time and time again with their childish antics and hard partying ways. Mike (Adam Devine) makes a living selling liquor with his buff little brother Dave (Zac Efron). They’ve been co-dependent since their youth, preferring fun stag nights out to anything resembling a steady female partner. To them adolescence has no expatriation date. Now that their baby sister Jeanie (Sugar Lyn Beard) is getting married though, the two playboys’ parents plead with them to get their collective act together and bring honorable dates to the destination wedding in Hawaii. Their Craigslist ad goes viral, much to the delight of recently fired restaurant sake bomb girls Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) and Alice (Anna Kendrick), and from there it’s all a bunch of flim flam for an all expenses paid vacation.
Director Jake Szymanski’s film is rough around the edges, full of continuity errors and editing mistakes and poorly spliced audio, but with the help of a dissident script by Brendan O’Brien and Andrew Jay Cohen, Mike and Dave doesn’t belly up against the pressures of gender. It’s too crass, too crazy, too out of whack. And still, I can’t help but commend the film for allowing women and men to rightfully be on the same objectified playing grounds. For the first time in recent memory, male and female nudity are both used to generate laughter and not take us to some erotic state of fornication or lust. The film certainly has some big misses throughout, but isn’t it great that it’s willing to let everyone have a crack at hitting a home run? I’ll settle for singles like this one any day of the week.
Much of the film comes across as a tad forced. An f-bomb inserted where it’s unneeded, a temper tantrum thrown instead of capitalizing on a dramatic turning point. No many moments act as catalysts to further the perverse plot. That’s where a talented cast comes in handy. Plaza and Kendrick become idolized in the last third and go too far in the open, but they both do fine work in the film’s middle playing charlatans dressed as prim posers. Efron’s good as well in a role he’s almost typecasting himself into, yet I think Adam Devine really carries the movie. He reminds me of Kevin Hart, but unlike that force of nature, Devine seems to know his own boyish charisma, willing to play second fiddle to a handsome devil rather than propping himself up as the lead. Hart always goes big; so does Devine, but through a thick think tank. He’s a major screw-up, and while Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates can be as cheap as refined sugar in spats, it manages a surprising sweetness.
“We are not party ruiners. We are party creators.”
Rating: 3 out of 5