Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates takes its inspiration from something that happened in real life. Brothers Mike and Dave Stangle (played in the movie by Adam Devine and Zac Efron) are asked to bring to their little sister’s wedding in Hawaii, in the hopes that having dates with them will keep them in line. They post an ad on Craigslist that goes viral, and this catches the attention of Tatiana and Alice (Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick), two girls who are every bit as wild as the brothers. The girls pretend to be good for the sake of a free trip to Hawaii. But they can only keep up the act for so long, and the growing conflict between them and the brothers threatens to derail the whole event.
The plot is pretty loose at best. The film is really just a premise expanded into a rapid series of gags. There isn’t really a whole lot made out of the idea of the wedding date search. The movie just skips ahead to introducing these two women who can match the brothers beat for beat in terms of bad behavior. It then basically throws these various volatile elements into a pressure cooker of a wedding and just kind of lets the comedy happen.
It isn’t very original or particularly creative, but it’s often very funny. Some of the stuff that happens in this movie feels like it could have come out of any other comedy of the last ten or so years. There’s very little specificity in the film, the plot seemingly conforming to the gags, rather than the other way around. The biggest comedic set piece of this film, which involves a massage, could have happened in any film, really. And the circumstances of that stuff happening seem pretty contrived. Even within the outrageous context of the film’s story, which involves plenty of other weirdness, it doesn’t really feel like something that would be logically allowed to happen.
That said, in the moment, it’s plenty funny. The film is just so committed to the idiocy of its characters. For the most part, in spite of taking inspiration from real life, the movie is more than willing to forego realism for the sake of a joke. And so in the moment, a lot of these gags will elicit reactions. If nothing else, there is a youthful energy to this picture that sustains its humor. And it keeps things short enough so that it doesn’t get too grating.
The direction seems to be mostly trying to get out of the way of the actors, who were apparently made to improvise. And while this isn’t the most interesting choice nowadays, the film does mostly benefit from this approach, given who the actors are. Adam Devine really throws himself into this role and is largely the comedic battery of the picture. Aubrey Plaza’s sociopathic act is the perfect foil to Devine’s heavy bro energy. Zac Efron and Anna Kendrick are fine, though they’re clearly outclassed by their co-stars.
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is full of funny bits, but it doesn’t entirely hold together. It is basically sustained by comedic momentum, much of its supplied by the improvisational powers of its more-than-capable comedic cast. It is fun, but also kind of forgettable. It doesn’t really distinguish itself from almost every other comedy of the last decade, apart from having a somewhat younger cast. Still, in the moment, the film just throws everything it thinks is funny on the screen for as long as it can. And it doesn’t really hurt.
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