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Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates




Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (R)
Film Reviews by Amy Diaz

07/14/16
By Amy Diaz adiaz@hippopress.com



Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (R)

Brothers Mike and Dave need nice girls to take to their sister’s nuptials in Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, a movie whose core idea is goofy enough and core cast is talented enough that it really should have been better.
That core cast includes Zac Efron and Adam Devine playing Dave and Mike Stangle, brothers and partners in a liquor distribution business. Also, in partying. Partying so hard that even at family gatherings they have a history of causing injury and property damage (fireworks and RVs don’t mix). So, for the upcoming wedding of their little sister Jeanie (Sugar Lyn Beard), the family — including mom Rosie (Stephanie Faracy), dad Burt (Stephen Root) and future brother-in-law Eric (Sam Richardson) — holds a bit of an intervention. Instead of going stag and becoming instigators, usually in pursuit of a girl, Mike and Dave must bring dates. Dates, Burt insists, who will keep them in line.
Because Mike and Dave are more about high energy than critical thinking, they decide to shop for nice girls on the internet. Specifically, on Craigslist. After all, as Mike reminds Dave, they got the couch they both love on Craigslist, so why couldn’t it work for women?
Meanwhile, the other half of the core cast, Alice (Anna Kendrick) and Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza), are also partners in partying hard. So hard in their case that Alice and Tatiana are fired from their jobs for being drunk and because Alice insisted on dancing on the tables every time a Rhianna song came on. When Mike and Dave’s ad — asking for nice girls to take to the wedding in Hawaii, all expenses paid — goes viral and the guys wind up on the Wendy Williams show, Alice and Tatiana see them and decide that’s their ticket to a paid vacation. And Tatiana thinks Alice desperately needs a vacation. Not long ago, Alice was herself at the altar but instead of “I do,” her fiance said “I don’t” and Alice was left crying with Tatiana there to swear at the groom and take care of her devastated friend.  
Not wanting to appear like a weirdo who will accept a vacation from some guy on the internet, Tatiana makes a plan to present herself and Alice as “nice girls.” For starters, they don’t respond to the ad but instead follow the guys to a bar where Tatiana throws herself in front of a car so that Mike can rush over and “save” her. Then the girls invent a respectable resume to go with their respectable-looking shoplifted dresses — Tatiana is a teacher, Alice runs a hedge fund (though she has no idea what a hedge fund is). By the end of the night, the girls have their Hawaiian invite and are on their way to vacation.
Or so they think. Mike and Dave actually need the girls to attend a fair number of wedding events. And, while they make a good impression on the boys’ parents and sister, they also begin to, unintentionally, add to Mike and Dave’s natural tendencies to instigate trouble.
For a movie about two dude-bros, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is at its best (which is perhaps not the highest standard, but) when it focuses on the girls. Alice and Tatiana have a fun friendship that feels believable — in spirit if not so much in action — for the young twentysomething characters I think these thirtysomething actresses are supposed to be. You can buy a friendship so strong (in people so young and obligation-free) that one friend will happily lose a job to keep the party going for a friend who is deeply down in the dumps. Because Alice’s character is rooted in the pain from her aborted wedding, it adds a humanizing edge to everything she does. In movies like this, it is standard for “sane” people to be wacky for no good reason. Alice, meanwhile, is in a wacky place and Tatiana elects to take the ride with her, making their motivations and behavior less goofy-for-no-reason. 
I would also lump in Jeanie, who actually gets to have something of a personality and inner life. She has worries and conflicting desires that help her be something more than just stock movie bride. 
Compare all of this with Mike and Dave. They are much more one-note dumb-brahs. When you boil down their motivations and thought processes, it often goes to “because the movie needs it to be that way.” 
I suspect the movie’s creative team is aware of this story-telling unevenness, as a fair amount of screentime is spent giving us the story from Alice and Tatiana’s perspective. Had this movie’s focus been Alice and Tatiana Need a Free Vacation, I feel like it would have been stronger.
You know, stronger for a very light, raunchy comedy about weed, binge drinking, poor decisions involving fireworks and, tee-hee, silly sex stuff. So not, like, “wins an Oscar” strong. More like “hey, this thing is on basic cable, I will watch the remainder of it” strong.
As it is, Mike and Dave doesn’t quite make it to that level. It does have some elements to recommend it: “Zac Efron as himbo” (see also: the Neighbors movies) has grown on me; he is good at using his handsomeness for comic effect. Adam Devine, whom I know mostly as the loud guy from the Pitch Perfect movies, is acceptable. He tweaks that persona just enough here, adds an element of desperation that keeps him from becoming a total cartoon. Both Plaza and Kendrick are solid. When this movie is one of three things you’re flipping between some night Saturday night where you don’t have the energy to pick one thing on Netflix, it will serve perfectly fine as a thing to watch during the commercials on reruns of Law & Order and that Anthony Bourdain show. It has moments of silly, R-rated humor — but not quite enough moments or smart, original or sharp enough comedy to really warrant that much more of your attention. C
Rated R for crude sexual content, language throughout, drug use and graphic nudity. Directed by Jake Szymanski and written by Andrew Jay Cohen & Brendan O’Brien, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is an hour and 38 minutes long and distributed by 20th Century Fox. 
 





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