Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates
Zac Efron, Adam Devine, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza
FilmInk rates movies out of $20 — the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
…your typical screwball comedy…
Hard-partying brothers, Mike (Adam Devine) and Dave Stangle (Zac Efron), are obnoxious man-children living a reckless and carefree lifestyle. This lifestyle has earned them a bad reputation of screwing over their family and friends, particularly at family events. When their little sister, Jeanie (Sugar-Lyn Beard), gets engaged, she asks her big brothers to bring sweet, sensible “nice girls” to her destination wedding in Hawaii, instead of “going stag.”
Wanting to make their sister and parents happy, Mike and Dave place an ad on Craigslist to find the perfect dates, which ends up going viral, and even gets covered on local New York media talk shows. After seeing the two on TV, down-and-out party girls, Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) and Alice (Anna Kendrick) hatch a plan to become “nice girls” for the promise of an all-expenses paid – and much needed – vacay. Thinking that they’ve snagged the perfect wholesome ladies, the boys instead find themselves completely outsmarted and out-partied by the manipulative and uncontrollable duo.
Director, Jake Szymanski, makes the leap from TV to feature film here, having worked on shows including Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Saturday Night Live. While he does a decent job, the bulk of his experience shows through strongly, with the film feeling more like a TV movie than a feature…you can almost feel where the ad breaks would go. One thing that Szymanski’s TV work has earned him is a killer set of skills in handling comedy; he understands the nuanced timing and skills of his cast, so every awkward inflection is caught, and the rhythm of each sequence is totally spot on.
This, however, would not have been possible without the know-how of a very funny cast. It’s good to see Efron continuing his quest to show that he is more than just a face and body, once again demonstrating his growing reputation for levity. Devine, of course, is stupidly funny, and while he totally over-acts the hell out of his role, it plays well. The chemistry between the two is solid, but completely outshone by that of their female co-stars. Kendrick and Plaza are exceptional reminders of why there should be more women in comedy. Anna Kendrick has a realness to her humour – she’s got a kind of sad clown thing going on, particularly in this film, which makes her both hilarious and totally relatable to just about any woman on earth. Plaza, on the other hand, is just out-and-out raw in the vein of Amy Schumer and Sarah Silverman, where everything she says and does is a punch line – which she hits every time.
Though Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates is your typical screwball comedy, the writing does touch on pretty heavy themes with a surprising level of emotional intelligence. Efron and Devine, for example, deal with issues around parental favouritism, sibling rivalry, and general inferiority complexes. Kendrick and Plaza are also challenged to temper their humour with issues like abandonment, failure, and even sexual assault.
Writing team, Andrew Cohen and Brendan O’Brien (Bad Neighbours 1 and 2, American Storage, Acting With James Franco), have done a great job of producing consistent (albeit cheap) laughs, and the writing follows a very clear formula – intro, problem, conflict, resolution. That said, they cleverly poke fun at the plot’s predictability, having Efron and Devine’s characters reference their similarity to Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson’s characters in the all-too-similar Wedding Crashers. It’s all feels very trendy and meta.
Though it’s fairly unmemorable overall, Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates is a solid indicator of two things: comedy teams are not dead, and the future of screwball/stoner comedy has a strong place for women.