The day I dreaded for months is finally here. I finally have to screen Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. For five months, every movie I’ve screened has shown a trailer for this film and after watching it, I didn’t see a lot to look forward to. At first glance, the trailer looked like another attempt at what Hollywood calls ‘comedy’ these days. Forced adult humor, edgy sex jokes, and lots of profanity ultimately failing to hit the mark of funny in all three categories. My early prediction was for this to be one of the worse films of the year…perhaps I was too harsh in my prediction.
We begin with Michael and David Stangle played by Devine and Efron. They spend their entire lives conning businesses into selling their brand of Tequila and nearly causing multiple counts of manslaughter at family gatherings. After being told to shape up and get dates for their little sister’s wedding, the boys post a Craigslist ad to bring two women to Hawaii and they get hundreds of responses almost overnight like most craigslist ads promising a free week in Hawaii would. When Alice and Tatiana played by Kendrick and Plaza see the brothers on the Wendy Williams Show (like most unemployed people would watch at 1 in the afternoon) the girls decide to con their way into the boy’s life and ready themselves for a crazy week of decadence And debauchery.
Now I have to give credit where credit is due. The chemistry between Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza is really what makes this movie. Every time the women are on-screen together, there is legitimate laughs and entertainment on display. Plaza’s ability to set up a bit and Kendrick’s ability to play off of her really gives the boost this film desperately needs. I truly feel that if the focus was based on their characters, we would have gotten a much better movie. Because where the women succeed at being funny, their male counterparts flopped…hard. Wanting to change the channel describes Devine’s performance and his comedic delivery falls flat at nearly every turn. Multiple times he tries to take a joke that wasn’t very funny, to begin with, and stretch it out into a minute long bit that brings everything to a screeching halt. Zac Efron plays it straight but he spends much of his time reacting to his brother’s stupidity and generally looking surprised when things don’t go his way. David is the most likable by far but only because he seems to be the only person who isn’t required to take meds.
Ultimately what works against this is that all the characters involved play like cartoons and not real people. Not only are they barely believable but they all seem to be written based on stereotypes. You have the generic uppity parents, the snowflake daughter, the overly aggressive lesbian, the OCD wedding planner, black guy #1, black guy #2, and guess staring Drug Use and dick jokes.
I didn’t hate Mike and Dave the way I thought it would. Are there some good laughs here? Yes. There are some genuine moments of clever ad-libbing between characters and the story never seems to fly off the rails. Plaza and Kendrick are great and Efron is serviceable. I truly feel like if DeVine was omitted, I would have rated it much higher but with him comes moments of unfunny profanity-laced tirades and general cringeworthy attempts to get a laugh. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is a great movie to Netflix and Chill to but that’s about it. With a little more addition by subtraction, this could have been one of the biggest hits of the year.
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