Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
Posted July 7, 2016 by Daniel Hodgson in
Mike and Dave is heavy on shenanigans, and light on plot, which would be perfectly fine in a much funnier film.
Zac Efron is one of the sexiest men alive. He is also one of those actors who makes me go ah shit, that guy is in it. This is gonna blow…
Think I’m wrong? Let’s review Efron’s career. The former High School Musical star loaned his voice to the hero in The Lorax, which received mixed reviews at best (and a negative review from yours truly). Among other films, he has appeared in New Year’s Eve and starred in The Lucky One, a Gary Marshall film and a Nick Sparks adaptation, respectively. If that isn’t a one-two punch to cinephiles, I don’t know what is. Dirty Grandpa garnered a whopping 18 on Metacritic. I think I’ve made my point. The man does not pick good projects.
So when I saw him on the poster for Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, I was immediately apprehensive. The poster depicts Efron passed out on the ground, smiling, lying next to Anna Kendrick, who has used lipstick to draw a tux on his exposed torso. To his left is Adam Devine, who’s similarly passed out and grinning broadly, lying next to Aubrey Plaza, who, like Kendrick, looks directly at us wryly. They know what they’re doing, and don’t feel bad about it.
That’s the movie in a nutshell. The Stangle Brothers need dates for their sister Jeanie’s wedding. Jeanie is portrayed by Sugar Lyn Beard, an actress who’d have been better suited for the Silent Era of film, sounding as if she’d inhaled helium before each take. Jeannie is going to be married to Eric (Sam Richardson), the world’s blandest black man. Their father, Burt (Stephen Root, once Milton from Office Space), demands that Mike (Devine) and Dave (Efron) bring dates to the wedding due to the brothers’ long history of hijinx at family functions.
Who they find are Alice (Kendrick) and Tatiana (Plaza), a pair of hard-partying ghetto white chicks who’ve been fired from their waitressing gig at a bottom-tier sushi bar for being plastered on the job. Alice is coping with getting dumped at the altar, so Tautiana decides that what they need is a va-cay, which is “urban” for vacation (um…shouldn’t their priority be looking for a job?).
That’s when they see Mike and Dave on Wendy. The brothers posted a personal ad on Craigslist, which mentions that the wedding will be in Hawaii. Bingo. However, the brothers are looking for nice girls, and so Alice and Tatiana pretend to be a hedge-fund manager and a school teacher respectively, which they obviously are not. Mike and Dave, being idiots, buy into it.
There is no story beyond that. Mike and Dave is heavy on shenanigans, and light on plot, which would be perfectly fine in a much funnier film. Don’t get me wrong, I laughed a few times, and chuckled once. However, imagine a .10 of a laugh. That’s about how funny most of Mike and Dave is. Some of the gags are more like a .01 of a laugh. That won’t do for a movie that’s all about the laughs. There are flashes of wit, but they are rare as a hot date on Tinder.
Much of the comedy is improvisational and performance-based. Unfortunately, Adam Devine mugs his way through most of the movie like Jim Carrey but without an iota of the talent that made the rubber-faced actor a comedy icon. The film marks yet another entry in a slate of raunch-coms for Efron (Neighbors, Neighbors 2, etc), but I don’t understand the insistence. He’s just not that funny. Is Zac Efron at all the first name you think of when comedy comes to mind (or second or third?). He is not cast because of comedic talent. Why, then, does he keep getting roles in comedies? The answer in one word: demographics.
Tell that, though, to the audience at my screening of Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, who guffawed at the slightest provocation. Me, I don’t laugh at just anything and everything. That is the design flaw of movies like Mike and Dave. There comes a point where a broad comedy is too broad, whereby in trying to dumb it down for everyone, it ends up being for fewer people. Maybe Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is too dumb for you. It sure was for me. 1.5 out of 5 stars.