By Chaz Lipp
Despite a capable, game cast, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates fails to deliver enough laughs to justify its own existence. Mike (Adam DeVine) and Dave (Zac Efron) Stangle are fun-loving brothers who manage to ruin just about any family event they attend. When their sister Jeanie (Sugar Lyn Beard) announces her wedding plans, their father Burt (Stephen Root) demands that Mike and Dave bring respectable dates to Hawaii for the big day. In a crazy bit of inspiration, the Stangle boys go on the Wendy Williams Show to announce their search for suitable companionship.
It’s not so much that Mike and Dave follows a totally predictable path. Yes, we of course see a string of ridiculous respondents to the Stangles’ offer of an all-expense-paid trip to Hawaii. Yes, they wind up with a pair of slutty, drug-addled opportunists—Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) and Alice (Anna Kendrick)—who have no interest in adhering to any best-behavior requests. So yeah, the movie is pretty much what you’d expect. The party-hardy Stangle brothers are out-partied by the hard-living gals. Eventually the Stangle bros figure out that Tatiana and Alice have no intentions of being their “dates” in any traditional sense.
There are unexpected moments along the way, it’s just that they sometimes don’t make any sense based on the way director Jake Szymanski presents his characters. Formula is fine in a wild-and-crazy comedy, as long as the humor sticks. The worst treatment is handed out to Sugar Lyn Beard, the seemingly straight-laced sister who winds up getting sky high on ecstasy, wandering around fully nude, and making sexual advances toward her own brother. Perhaps the intent was to subvert traditional expectations of the “straight man” role, but these gags just fall flat.
Also screwed over is Sam Richardson as Jeanie’s groom Eric. Totally emasculated by Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O’Brien’s anything-for-a-laugh screenplay, Eric is forced to mostly stand by and lamely accept revelations that Jeanie doesn’t really love him. At the risk of taking the fluffy Mike and Dave too seriously, the fact is the actions taken by these characters often don’t make any sense. Again, we wouldn’t pity these people and find their decisions so infuriating if the jokes were actually funny. Note: Alice Wetterlund is a rare bright spot, stealing all her scenes as the Stangles’ perpetually horny cousin.
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates will eventually find a late-night cable audience. But as a summer competitor, this one is DOA.
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Images: 20th Century Fox