Stars: Adam Devine, Zac Efron, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Stephen Root, Stephanie Faracy, Sugar Lyn Beard, Sam Richardson, Alice Wetterlund, Lavell Crawford, Mary Holland, Kumail Nanjiani, Jake Johnson, Marc Maron, Erik Griffin | Written by Andrew Jay Cohen, Brendan O’Brien | Directed by Jake Szymanski
Audiences are, by now, used to the R-rated gross-out comedies that feature man-child characters getting into ridiculous, often moronic, situations. It’s a genre that was once box office gold, blending shocking and outrageous scenes with surprisingly sweet sentiment. However Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates takes the concept one step further, fighting for male/female equality through cinema, with not only male characters acting stupid and outrageous, but also the ladies of the cast. Yes, this is an “equal opportunites idiot” movie!
The film follows the titular Mike and Dave, two fun-loving (and, honestly, idiotic) brothers who tend to get out of control at family gatherings. When their sister Jeanie reveals her Hawaiian wedding plans, the rest of the Stangles insist that the brothers bring respectable dates. After placing an ad on Craigslist, the siblings decide to pick Tatiana and Alice, two charming and seemingly normal women. Once they arrive on the island, however, Mike and Dave realize that their companions are NOT what they seem, and instead of the two sweet women they thought they were on a date with, Mike and Dave discover the duo really want to get wild and party… Mike and Dave style!
If you’ve ever seen Wedding Crashers, which this film references in one particular cringeworthy sequence, anything starring Seth Rogen and/or made by Judd Apatow, or the frat-boy comedies inspired by that duos work, you’ll know what to expect from this film – after all Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is penned by the guys behind Neighbors (aka Bad Neighbours here in the UK), and features very much the same mix mean-spirited humour, near-the-knuckle gags and idiotic behaviour, plus THAT final third turn which cranks up the charm and brings out the sweet-hearted nature of the characters.
Very much by the numbers then… But, by virtue of its near-the-knuckle comedy, its cast and their sheer likeability, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates manages to over come its familiarity and in the process provide a barrel-load of laughs.
Be it from Kumail Nanjiani’s over-zealous masseuse or Alice Wetterlund’s uber-competitive and overtly sexual Cousin Terry it’s the cast that bring out the laughs and make the film. But you can’t single out any one “star”, for this is truly an ensemble piece – yes, the chemistry between Adam Devine and Zac Efron’s titular characters may be the centre of the film but it’s their interaction with others that makes this ridiculous tale work: Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza are their perfect foils, whilst Sugar Lyn Beard, as Mike and Dave’s younger sister, even as sweet-natured as that character is, doesn’t feel like she COULDN’T love her two stupid siblings (and talk about giving you’re all to a role – she clearly shed any inhibitions she may have had for her key scenes!)
Sometimes you just want escapism in cinema, a film to make you laugh, to entertain and delight, and this certainly does that in spades. Hard to believe Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is based on a true story right..?
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is out now on DVD, Blu-ray and Ultra HD 4k.