Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Review
MIKE AND DAVE
NEED A BETTER MOVIE
The movie genre that’s labeled as “comedy” as endure over the great timeline of filmmaking. Just like action, drama, horror, and sci-fi, the comedy genre has had its memorable hits and titanic fails. And so it’s hard to find a balance to measure its worth, for comedy movies are (as the title states) supposed to be funny, comical, and humorous. Even with a great cast and surefire premise setup, a comedy movie can falter and winded up being “not funny”. On the other hand, comedy movies, for the most part, are reinventing the wheel, pandering to certain crowd and finding its groove in jokes and gags. Of course, that’s not to say that these types of movies aren’t trying to be “comedy gold” (which they usually aim to be), but might end up taking silver or bronze or not even placing at all. 20th Century Fox and director Jake Szymanski try their hand for reaching comedic gold in the new comedy film Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. Does this movie find big laughs or misses its mark?
The Stangle Brothers, Mike (Adam Devine) and Dave (Zac Efron) are dimwitted siblings that work together alcohol distributors. Their crazy antics during their family gatherings, while to fun to them, are growing tired by their family members, causing chaos and destruction with their shenanigans. Their parents demanding the two brothers to find dates for their sister Jeanie’s (Sugar Lyn Beard) destination wedding in Hawaii. Unable to process “standard” way of meeting people, Mike and Dave turn towards the internet (a Craigslist’s ad) to find women, a quest that leads them many strange, unusual, and different types of women, including the two stoners Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) and Alice (Anna Kendrick), who want a free vacation trip. Cleaning themselves up and through a façade of lies, the pair winning over the Stangle Brothers as the foursome travel to Hawaii for the wedding. Unfortunately, once there, each one faces the gravity of the situation as Tatiana and Alice are forced personal one-on-one time with Mike and Dave. As the big day approaches, Mike and Dave slowly begin to see that their two “respectable” dates are not what they seem.
THE GOOD / THE BAD
While action, animated, and fantasy are my favorite genres (in the movie world), comedy follows right behind them. I usually like more of the physical slapstick comedies or the adult “R-rated” raunchy comedies, but I can watch pretty much anything within this genre. It just has to funny as “that” is its true main goal of the movie. So I can go on list all my favorite comedy movies, but the list would be too long and you guys would probably get bored. So, suffice to say, that I do enjoy a “good laugh” whether by sharp writing or by goofy / zany angst. I remember seeing the trailer for Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates and was eager to see the movie as it had a very funny premise with some likeable actors and actresses. Basically, I was looking forward to seeing this movie. Unfortunately, after seeing it, I felt a bit letdown as Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates has its moments, but mostly fall flats, desperately wanting to be a distant cousin to the movie Wedding Crashers.
Mike and Dave Wedding Dates (I’ll abbreviate it as Wedding Dates) is directed by Jake Szymanski, who is known for directing numerous short films and TV episode, including SNL, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Bad Judge. Basically, this is first full length feature film. Szymanski definitely has an interesting / strong premise for the film, which setups a great R-rated joyride with plenty of room to flex its raunchy humor. Yes, there are some pocket moments that you’ll die laughing at that are spread throughout the film. Even if your humor tolerance level is weak or strong, these scenes will have you laughing at. So Szymanski has very strong setup for the movie, which could’ve been something great. Too bad…it isn’t.
While Wedding Dates has very funny moments and strong premise layout / setup, much of the rest of the movie is seriously lacking. Let’s start with the humor. While I said above that the are some hilarious parts, most of the film’s comedy is dull and fits the bill for the commonplace “R-rated” raunchy comedy flick. Meaning that the jokes and gag (beyond a couple that are funny), are pretty much what you’ll expect to see in this movie category. Doesn’t raise the bar nor is it memorable or even uproariously funny. It’s just the industry standard which, for a comedy movie, is pretty disappointing. Next, the perhaps the biggest negative I have for the film, is that it feels, for most part, lifeless. Comedy angst aside, drama is really in short supply as the movie feels pretty long, even with a runtime of only 1 hour and 45 minutes long. What drama the movie does have seems very weak and poorly written as if it’s written by amateur screenplay writers, recycling several ideas from other (perhaps greater) movies of its genre. Even the film’s message, which comes abruptly towards the film’s third act, seems very contrite as Szymanski tries to cast a wide net of ideas that are very half-baked. What’s the movie’s theme / message? I seriously don’t know?
The foursome that make up the principle cast in Wedding Dates is very well liked and recognizable, but there’s performances are less than desirable. This is because that their characters are, more or less, thinly drawn and aren’t fully developed (even for a comedy movie), making them almost like cartoon caricatures. This being said, the actors, who don’t have much to go on in the matters of character growth, go a bit over-the-top, whether in comedy angst or over-acting. Of the four, the two most recognizable are Zac Efron and Anna Kendrick, respectfully playing Dave and Alice. Both characters are afforded a bit (tiny bit) of character development, but it doesn’t go anywhere or payoff in the end. Efron, most notably from Disney Channel’s High School Musicals movies and other comedy movies like Neighbors, definitely gets the part down (and even the looks), but he over acts a lot. Likewise, Kendrick, known for her roles in Up in the Air and Pitch Perfect, is a fair actress (nothing Oscar worthy, but gets the job done), but her role in Wedding Dates is bad as she struggles to grasp the comedy aspect of being dimwitted / stoner archetype. Thus, her roles as Alice is pretty “bleh”, which is sad because I like Anna Kendrick.
Faring better (but still silly and lacking growth) is Adam DeVine and Aubrey Plaza as Mike and Tatiana. Devine, known for his role in Pitch Perfect, and Plaza, known for her role on the TV show Parks and Recreation, are afforded more time for more gags and jokes and do play them better off than Efron and Kendrick. The trade off, unfortunately, is that their characters aren’t that quite unique in growth nor development. Basically, DeVine and Plaza are more for the laughs than interesting characters. So you have two funny characters and two characters, trying to be funny and all four don’t quite fit, even though I do like four individual as actors and actresses.
Supporting roles in Wedding Dates are generally shortchanged, but given how the film is structured around absurd humors than well-rounded supporting players, these roles fit the end product of the feature. Perhaps the most well-rounded characters, even more so than the four principle characters, is Sugar Lyn Beard as the brother’s soon-to-be married sister Jeanie Stangle. She has some funny parts and some heartfelt ones as well, making her character feel at least have a complete story arc. While Beard’s Jeanie as the most “wholesome” story, actress Alice Wetterlund excels the best (and probably one of the funniest in the movie) as Mike and Dave’s lesbian cousin Terry. Wetterlund scenes with DeVine and / or Terry are quite funny. Other roles, include Stephen Root and Stephanie Faracy as Mike and Dave’s parents (Burt and Rosie Stangle), Sam Richardson as Jeanie’s soon-to-be husband, Silicon Valley actor Kumail Nanjiani as the male masseuse Keanu, and a small cameo-like appearance from New Girl star Jake Johnson.
As a final note, the movie seems to desperately want to be similar to the movie Wedding Crashers, a film that struck the right balance with its characters, drama, and zany hilarious hijinks. Wedding Dates, unfortunately, while maybe admirable, doesn’t quite make it. They even mention the movie (Wedding Crashers) in the movie as if “name dropping” will bring about its familiarity. It doesn’t.
Viewers are cordially invited to meet the Stangle Brothers and their mischievous dates in the movie Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. Director Jake Szymanski newest film as some redeem qualities, with an interesting premise and some wildly outlandish comedic points that are quite funny. Unfortunately, this movie is half-baked idea of a film, lacking heart, characters development, an engaging script, sharp humor, and some “overacting” from its cast. Personally, this movie was pretty predictable, a standard R-rated comedy a bit disappointing as I was definitely expecting more from this movie (I was a bit hype to see it). If you like to “turn off your brain” and watch a mindless film of dimwitted jokes and raunchy / absurd gags throughout, then this movie is for you, but as a rental only. However, for everyone else, it’s best to skip Mike and Dave Needs Wedding Dates and just watch the more enjoyable (and funnier) Wedding Crashers movie instead. Also (before I forget) Wedding Dates is based on a true story (sort of), but while interesting as it, I just don’t care. Better yet, Mike and Dave Stangle just need a “better movie” rather than Wedding Dates.
2.4 Out of 5 (Rent It / Skip It)
Released On: July 8th, 2016
Reviewed On: July 11th, 2016
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is rated R for crude sexual content, language throughout, drug use and some graphic nudity