Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates: Movie Review


An idiotic plan leads to some screaming, some comedy and some heart.
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is, appropriately enough, as advertised. It’s a comedy, an immature comedy, a dirty comedy, and follows the title’s plot that Mike and Dave need to find dates for their sister’s wedding and surprisingly (unsurprisingly) things don’t go as planned. It’s also reasonably funny. Over-the-top in many places, but for the most part it finds the somewhat funny side of each situation. 2016

Directed by: Jake Szymanski

Screenplay by: Andrew Jay Cohen, and Brendan O'Brien

Starring: Zac Efron, Adam Devine

Adam Devine is Mike and Zac Efron is Dave. They’re brothers who run a liquor selling business together. Dave is the slightly more mature one, but still lives with and acts like the childish and crude Mike. After a solid opening joke where the brothers show their incompetence at their job, the plot is established. Their parents (Stephen Root and Stephanie Faracy) and sister Jeanie (Sugar Lyn Beard) and future brother-in-law Eric (Sam Richardson) show up in their frat house-like apartment to inform that they will not destroy another family event with their usual male antics and they must find sweet, normal, reasonable girls to bring as dates.

Plot aside, this is the part of the movie that falters the most. It is not just over-the-top, but 10x louder and in-your-face than it needs to be, which instead of making it funny just makes it tiring. Dad gets into a swear word-ridden rant with Mike and Dave, and when we’re introduced to the girls Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) and Alice (Anna Kendrick) they are just drunken, angry, moronic, hysterical freak-shows. Perhaps just picking two of those adjectives instead of four would have made it more reasonably funny. The comedic timing was off for all of the actors and for the most part they just shouted their lines instead of making them genuinely funny.

But things eventually settled down. Jake Johnson in just one scene with only two lines finally got me to see the humour in Kendrick’s drunken crying mess of a character, and realize that there is actually a bit of heart in this movie.
From left: Mike (Adam Devine), Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza), Alice (Anna Kendrick)
and Dave (Zac Efron) celebrate at a wild wedding. Photo Credit: Gemma LaMana.
Not surprising, when the boys decide to post an ad online to meet strangers to take to Hawaii, they don’t meet the sweet, normal, reasonable girls that they were hoping for. But Tatiana isn’t as stupid as Mike and Dave, and is more evil, and is able to trick them into thinking they are in fact the girls of their parents’ dreams.

Off to the wedding where things gel nicely, except for the actual wedding of course. The boys are constantly trying to up each other, and everyone else, and get with the girls. The girls are there to have fun, and their fun doesn’t match the idea of fun that the bride and her friends have. All of which leads to multiple funny scenes involving dirt bike-riding accidents, broadcasted brotherly arguments, and bonding scenes with ecstasy and a stable of horses.

Sometimes it feels like every joke is just trying to be crasser than the one before it, which is not a great recipe for comedy. But then there are genuinely funny moments and hints of an honest sweetness to the movie. Efron and Kendrick’s Dave and Alice are better crafted characters than originally implied, both with a distinct lack of malice which allows them to grow together. They also get to impart their small (very small) pearls of wisdom on the other characters to help round out the movie.