Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (2016)
Directed by Jake Szymanski
Mike and Dave Stangle (Adam DeVine and Zac Efron) are partiers. They like to drink and have fun and definitely don't want to grow up and have boring ass nine-to-fives. When the family visits in anticipation of their little sister's destination wedding, their father provides an ultimatum: find two nice girls to come to the wedding (instead of getting drunk off their asses and hitting on girls in attendance) or forget about being part of the family. They post some ads in desperation, get quite a few responses, but none as serious as the attention of best friends Tatiana and Alice (Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick). They appear to be nice girls but Mike and Dave don't know what they've gotten themselves into and invite them to the wedding anyway.
This is a sort of cross between Wedding Crashers and Bridesmaids with a little Judd Apatow thrown in. It strives to have that sort of irreverency that's so popular in comedy today, but just seems to be trying too hard. The movie and characters don't get to be funny on their own because the actors and director try to be funny instead.
The actors themselves do decently in their roles, but a lot of their one-on-one chemistry seems forced and quite a bit of the acting is overdone. They haven't done enough to make their characters real. Aubrey Plaza is especially awkward, acting like a ratchet, sorority girl. That's not to say that there's no chemistry, because the brothers are great, but there just isn't enough. The movie is so focused on one-on-ones, like Mike and Dave, or Mike and Tatiana, that there's never a chance for the four main characters to show any chemistry together. And that, by itself, could've made the movie much better.
This movie feels like exposition-city. It could be used as an example for how to write exposition as well as how to include too much. There's never any inference because the characters spell everything out for us, and that chemistry I was talking about never comes into play because each character makes their own discovery. The characters never get a chance to grow together, like Dave telling Mike how he needs to mature, because they conclude their own story arcs... It's kind of exhausting...
That same exposition turns the movie in on itself. Mike and Dave are supposed to be party animals, so you'd expect them to be able to adjust quickly. But instead, the brothers are an odd combination of partier, immature, mature, sensitive, safety-conscious, sensible, disruptive, etc. At the same time, Tatiana and Alice are supposed to be party girls but only Tatiana really fits that, as she's an alcoholic butterfly while Alice gets drunk a little too easily and seems to occasionally do drugs.
Having mentioned the drugs, I feel like I have to mention the wedding. Jeanie Stangle, the youngest of three siblings, is marrying Eric after an unknown length of time. We don't know too much about Jeanie, just that Mike and Dave love her and would do anything for her. However, we learn, when she's high on ecstasy and maybe something else, that she's fearful of the impending marriage and feels like Eric is too boring and that she's going to regret the marriage. There's a few things wrong with this but I'll only mention one thing... I can't believe I'm writing this, but when you're high on ecstasy, e.g. "rolling," you don't feel negative like she does. When you're "rolling," you're full of love and positivity, the kind of fullness of love that will prompt you to tell someone who you've met that day for the very first time that you love them and they're an amazing friend. Jeanie would be ecstatic about her upcoming marriage.
Having said that, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates falls into an all-too-common hole, where the plot itself falls to the side in favor of stabs at comedy and a plodding romance. At least other comedies pay attention to what's happening in their own story, this movie just plainly doesn't. Like when Mike takes an ATV off a jump and one of the rapidly spinning wheel smacks Jeanie into submission a huge deal is made about her face, which is horribly bruised and swollen, with some broken blood vessels in her eye and some bad cuts. Yet nothing ends up happening about it, it just quickly heals and you never hear about it again and Jeanie ends up looking almost fine at the wedding... At least in The Hangover Part II when Stu woke up with a tattoo on his face emulating that of Mike Tyson it was continuously mentioned throughout the movie. But this story barely holds onto the setting or the main plot points beyond the constant reminder of, "WE'RE IN HAWAII." There aren't many movies that make such obvious use of plot devices as this, using every plot point as a textbook means to move the story along.
The comedy itself, though forced, follows in the likes of Judd Apatow, Nicholas Stoller, Todd Phillips, and the like. The humor is largely irreverent, quick-witted, and without pause, often featuring dick and sex jokes. The timing is usually great, even if the punchlines aren't. Every now and then it's hilarious, but in between those moments it's like a high school romance leading up to a musical finish, because no one knows how to end comedies these days except with a musical number.
TL;DR: This movie isn't original. Nor is it particularly hilarious. Every ingredient of this movie is either too much or too little, usually too little. But it has a sprinkling of laugh-out-loud moments, a somewhat touching romance, and, what may be the best part, is never cringeworthy or insufferable. Nothing about the movie sucks, but it sucks that it isn't better. It's fairly mediocre when it actually feels like it could've been so much better. Not as funny as other comedies nor as touching as other romances but it's not terrible.
- Acting – 12 / 20
- Story – 8 / 20
- Cinematography – 10 / 20
- Soundtrack – 5 / 10
- Entertainment Factor – 6 / 10
- Romantic Comedy – 5 / 10
- Other – 0 / 10