Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates

Posted by Joel Copling on July 7, 2016

As films based on allegedly true events go, "Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates" tells one of the less interesting anecdotes: A pair of brothers needed dates to go to their sister's wedding, posted an advertisement on a popular website for classifieds, and ended up on a talk show with their request. It's a pretty mundane story, and those who partake in a current cultural conversation about racial and class privilege must be losing their minds with regard to the subject matter being considered worthy of the motion-picture treatment. As written, directed, and performed right now, the film doesn't do much to justify its existence beyond some vague commentary about gender parity. That can summed up pretty well as, "Girls can just as easily fit the stoner stereotype as guys already do." Add on to that the horndog stereotype, and one has already grasped the essence of this flimsy comedy.

The Stangle brothers are the Mike and Dave (Adam Devine and Zac Efron) in question, and their parents (Stephanie Faracy and the great Stephen Root) have a simple request of them. After playing a semi-professionally edited montage of all their failures at family and friendly weddings (each one amusingly scored to the same pop song before the event-killing act), they no longer want the two young men to appear at weddings alone. They certainly don't want this to be the case at the wedding of the youngest child in the family, Jeanie (Sugar Lyn Beard, stealing the movie away from the four leads--and everyone else, come to think of it--with a superbly funny performance), to the love of her life, Eric (Sam Richardson, also quite good). That's where the online ad and subsequent appearance on "The Wendy Williams Show" come in and the film's plot begins in earnest.

It doesn't take long for the rambunctious personalities of Mike and Dave to get old, although Devine and Efron play off each other's quirks well enough that they at least aren't worthy of dislike. The same holds true for Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) and Alice (Anna Kendrick), the wedding dates of the title, whose characters are pot-smoking, beer-swilling, porn-watching sex fiends who manipulate their way into Mike and Dave's good graces (the old "one of us will jump in front of a car" bit). Kendrick is as adorably unassuming as ever, Alice having been jilted at her own wedding just weeks ago, but Plaza isn't given much to do, unless one counts a pretty useless bit of sexual gratification when Mike and Dave's bisexual cousin Terry (Alice Wetterlund) is introduced and promptly made to confirm that, yes, she is willing to flirt with members of the opposite gender, back-to-back, in the same scene.

The increasing raunch of that last kind is pretty constant, such as when Alice arranges a massage with benefits for Jeanie that includes load-bearing curtains, a reinforced ceiling, and multiple happy endings for her. The bride-to-be is a consistent target for gags in the laborious second half of the picture, such as providing the nudity of the film's R-rating and an extended, tired bit during which she and Alice digest the latter's baggie of ecstasy (before dipping into her "mystery bags," of course). The actors are all game for this kind of low-hanging fruit, but with "Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates," director Jake Szymanski and screenwriters Andrew Jay Cohen and Brendan O'Brien (who aided in tackling similar thematic material to far superior effect in the recent "Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising") only offer profanity-laced gags without much variation.

Film Information

Zac Efron (Dave Stangle), Adam Devine (Mike Stangle), Anna Kendrick (Alice), Aubrey Plaza (Tatiana), Sugar Lyn Beard (Jeanie Stangle), Sam Richardson (Eric), Alice Wetterlund (Cousin Terry), Stephen Root (Burt), Stephanie Faracy (Rosie).

Directed by Jake Szymanski and written by Andrew Jay Cohen and Brendan O'Brien.

Rated R (crude sexual content, language throughout, drug use, graphic nudity).

98 minutes.

Released on July 8, 2016.