Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (dir. Jake Szymanski)

Posted: July 14, 2016 in Uncategorized

“Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” is occasionally amusing, but mostly hollow. They had a good concept for a film (very loosely based on an actual event), but it’s never really fleshed out. Mike is played by Adam Devine, who pretty much plays the character as Devine plays every character he’s ever played. Dave is played by Zac Efron, who has nothing to do in this movie. Seriously, despite a handful of personality quirks (he draws anthropomorphized alcohol characters) he is an empty cipher of a straight man whose job is to be harmlessly dumb and offer a contrast to Devine’s Mike. The film has everyone hate Mike and like Dave, sending the implicit argument that attractive people are always better than non-attractive people. Weird. The fact that this film has these two characters in the title is astonishing, since the real stars are the female leads.

 

Mike and Dave are two brothers who ruin every family gathering with shenanigans. So their parents, mainly representing by father Stephen Root (wasted in this role), give them an ultimatum to bring dates to their sister’s (Sugar Lyn Beard) wedding to keep them in check. Being idiots, the brothers post an ad on Craigslist, which garners a lot of attention and gets them on TV.  This is then seen by Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) and Alice (Anna Kendrick), and these two ladies are the actual stars of the film…so much so that you wish the movie was just about them and ignored Mike and Dave entirely. Alice is a nice and well-meaning girl who is not too bright and has become an alcoholic following being left at the alter in an, admittedly, hilariously harsh way. Tatiana is…well…a slightly less slutty version of the character Aubrey Plaza just played in this year’s “Dirty Grandpa”. She’s dry and acerbic and pretty damn funny. Plaza was the only good thing about “Dirty Grandpa”, and while she still hasn’t found another vehicle as good as her underrated “The To-Do List”, she’s quickly becoming the one bright spot in a number of mediocre films, which I think just means she needs a better agent because she’s too good to be in movies like this. Kendrick, meanwhile, gets to play slightly against type (she’s usually cast as a goody-goody in films like “50/50” and the “Pitch Perfect” series) but still maintains her general air of sweetness and charm that makes her impossible not to like.

 

The film has a few sequences that really work, along with many more sequences that do not. Ones that work involve a massage scene where Alice decides to throw the stressed out bride-to-be a solid by paying the masseur (Kumail Nanjiani) to give her a woman’s version of a happy ending. While I don’t think a man can bring a woman to screaming orgasms by rubbing his butt vigorously against her butt, the scene is undeniably funny.  We also get Alice Wetterlund from MTV’s “Girl Code” playing Cousin Terry, who is bisexual but visually coded as a lesbian, who competes with Mike over who can be sexually serviced by Tatiana first. Wetterlund takes what is kind of a nothing character and steals two of the three major scenes she is in. We also are treated to a scene where Alice ends up rolling pretty hard on MDMA, and hearing Kendrick say some of the lines she has to say while playing high on Ecstasy is pretty amusing. I just wish that with the talent of Plaza, Kendrick, and Wetterlund, not to mention Beard who also has some good moments during the Ecstasy scene, had a better script to work with. Hell, those four actresses together would have made a helluva “Ghostbusters” cast. Still, the film feels necessary to shoehorn in scenes with Adam Devine, who feels like Hollywood is trying to make him the next big comedy star against our wills despite how damn annoying he is on screen, and Zac Efron, who offers nothing to cinema beyond his pretty face and nice body. This script absolutely wastes the talents of four very gifted comediennes by giving us a story that should have comedic suspense and building tension (can the guys keep their baser natures under control? Can the girls keep up their nice girl façade for the whole vacation) but instead of having scenes build upon each other with escalating stakes, we get a haphazard collection of set pieces which sometimes work and more often do not. Hell, a finale set to “This is How We Do It” feels stale after the song has been used in comedies from “Ali G Indahouse” to Kendrick’s own “Pitch Perfect 2”, and it features the same damn humorously lewd dry humping gag featuring Plaza that “Dirty Grandpa” already had a few months ago this year.

 

“Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” exists to show talented actresses trapped in a movie they are too good for, and to show two lead male actors who should not be lead male actors in roles that are bland and empty as Mike and Dave’s brains. I enjoyed seeing scantily clad Plaza and Kendrick on screen, and even more enjoyed the rare moments in the film where they were actually allowed to be as funny as we know they can, but there’s no other reason to see this rather bland and empty, mediocre comedy. But the film at least shows that putting them and Wetterlund and Beard together in a different movie could really hit paydirt in the future. C

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