HOLLYWOOD—Ever since “Bridesmaids” arrived in theaters, there has been this trend of comedies attempting to match that magic that was captured by Kristin Wiig, Melissa McCarthy and the rest of the gang. The latest flick to jump into that realm is “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” starring Zac Efron, Adam DeVine, Anna Kendrick and Aubry Plaza.
Before we get into the parameters of what works and what doesn’t work for this raunchy comedy, it’s important to note all that talk of this movie being based on a true story is not fully true. The movie was indeed inspired by two brothers who placed an ad on Craigslist looking for dates, but from there, everything else is from the ‘creative’ minds of Hollywood.
Brothers Mike (DeVine) and Dave (Efron) love the notion of being the life of the party at any family gathering, and their antics usually go a bit over-the-top in most occasions, which has forced their parents to deliver an ultimatum to the brothers to bring decent dates to their sister Jeanie’s (Sugar Lyn Beard) wedding. It looks like getting Mike and Dave dates without indulging in such raunchy behavior will prove to be more difficult than they expected.
Plaza and Kendrick portray Tatiana and Alice, bad girls who put on one hell of a front to lock down Mike and Dave to get a free trip to Hawaii for a wedding. These girls are wild, especially Tatiana who can put on a mask so quickly to portray the innocent lady and then minutes later do something that will leave the audience saying, “Wait, did she really do that?”
Hence, that is the problem that lies with the comedy; the element of raunchiness works for one character, but for the others it is not as strong. DeVine and Efron have great chemistry together, but the level of funny doesn’t reach the pinnacle of prior break-out comedic roles for the actors: Efron in “Neighbors” and DeVine in “Pitch Perfect.”
I will admit seeing the battle of the sexes (as I’d like to acclimate this movie) is fun, but as a spectator you just wish it was on more equal playing field. It’s difficult to go into all the gags without spoiling the fun, audiences are aware of that ATV scene that goes wildly wrong, and there is an encounter with a masseuse that left me slightly speechless, I mean it. “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” has funny moments, but more of those hilarious scene-stealers take place at the beginning of the flick in my opinion.
There is no argument that DeVine and Efron can do comedy, as can Plaza, Kendrick does an acceptable job, but one could argue her notion of being a ‘bad girl’ is quite tame to what she could have truly been if the writers took the character to that place.
I almost wanted to equate this comedy to the Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn comedy “Wedding Crashers,” whereas that flick was much more original and delivered on the comedy on a consistent level: it was funny at the beginning, in the middle and in the end, where “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” doesn’t have a consistent thread of funny all the way through. If you plan to go full-crude go all the way and don’t apologize for doing it.