Directed by Jake Szymanski. Starring Zac Efron, Adam Devine, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Stephen Root.
THE PLOT: When their parents demand they bring dates to their sister’s wedding, Mike (Adam Devine) and Dave (Zac Efron) turn to craigslist to find some “nice” girls that will tone down their antics. In need of a change, and of course a free trip to Hawaii, Alice (Anna Kendrick) and Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) hide their real personalities to make sure they are the dates chosen.
THE VERDICT: Inspired by the true story of Mike and Dave Stangle turning to the internet to find wedding dates and their story going viral, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is a film that tries incredibly hard to be funny, unfortunately for the talented comedians involved, the evidence of this struggle is all too evident in this unfunny and cringeworthy film.
Zac Efron is no stranger to comedy, and regularly pokes fun at himself in his movies, and ‘Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates’ is no exception. Efron has great chemistry with the rest of the cast, but this does not lead to laughs, unfortunately. Adam Devine plays Mike as a spoiled, screechy brat, and while this works in the TV show ‘Workaholics’ that gave Devine his break, this petulant act soon becomes tiresome in this wedding comedy. Aubrey Plaza obviously has a ball playing a character very different to those we have seen her play before – her most famous character, April on ‘Parks & Recreation’ and many of her others are sarcastic and unenthused about everything in their lives – but this loud mouthed and vulgar character is no more funny than the others in the film. The same goes for Anna Kendrick, who has fun with the dim Alice, but rarely manages to make the character anything other than annoying. The rest of the cast features Stephen Root, Sugar Lyn Beard and Kumail Nanjiani.
Screenwriters Andrew Jay Cohen and Brendan O’Brien have taken Mike and Dave Stangle’s story – which, unlike the film, was all about the lead up to the wedding, not the shenanigans the brothers got up to at the actual event – shifts the focus of the film to the wedding, and seems to delight in making the girls as loudmouthed, crass and emotionally unengaged as the boys. While it is clear that this worked on paper since Kendrick and Plaza signed on for the film, this makes the film one full of unlikeable characters, crass and unfunny dialogue and situations that escalate but never manage to provoke giggles.
As director, Jake Szymanski paces the film badly, and never allows the characters to seem emotionally rounded, instead focusing on putting the characters into one ridiculous, over the top and unfunny situation after another. There seems to be a focus given to improvised scenes throughout the film, which means that every attempt at a joke is drawn out and painful. Add to this a very formulaic flow to the story means that ‘Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates’ is not only very far from the truth, but also drawn out and unfunny.
In all, ‘Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates’ is a waste of a strong cast and although the characters work well enough together, they are let down by never being fleshed out, allowed to learn from their experiences and a sincere and troubling lack of laughs in this wedding crashing “comedy”.
Review by Brogen Hayes

  • filmbuff2011

    ‘Based on a true story… sort of’, Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates is inspired by the exploits of real-life brothers Mike and Dave Stangle. Their actual stories are presumably a lot more interesting than this uninspiring would-be ‘comedy’.

    Mike (Adam Devine) and Dave (Zac Efron) always have a way of screwing up family occasions. The work easy, party harder motto seems to be stamped on their foreheads. Their unimpressed father Burt (Stephen Root) wants to them finally grow up for the wedding of their sister Jeanie (Sugar Lyn Beard). In order to do that, they have to get wedding dates. Not just any dates, but nice girls who will make them behave and look respectable. That’s where trampy Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) and ditzy, jilted-at-the-altar Alice (Anna Kendrick) come in. Attracted by the idea of a free holiday to Hawaii, they pose as nice girls (it’s really hard) to Mike and Dave. They hit it off and head off to Hawaii, whereupon all manner of chaos ensues as the unpredictable girls make an even bigger mess of things….

    This is one of those ‘it does what it says on the tin’ romcoms, right down to the obvious title. In other words, don’t expect anything original like (500) Days Of Summer or the one that this film aspires to – The Wedding Crashers (referenced several times). The most obvious problem with the film is that the acting is amped up to 11. Seriously amped up. Everyone here seems to think that they’re in a sketch show where gurning faces, girly screams and constant shouting is normal. A five minute Saturday Night Live sketch… sure. But 98 minutes?

    There are some good laughs early on courtesy of some film in-jokes, but it becomes very tiring and increasingly unfunny. Even the outtakes over the end credits are mostly unfunny. It makes you wonder if the cast had more fun making it than the audience will watching it. Even the usually reliable, delightful Kendrick disappoints. Spare a thought for Efron too – he’s had a bad year for films, scoring a hat-trick of three duds in a row. He should go back to small, memorable character parts, like in Liberal Arts.

    Debut director Jake Szymanski obviously has a lot to learn about making films. Being crude isn’t necessarily funny – e.g. the ‘massage scene’, which is more bizarre than anything else in this muddled film. It’s so predictable too, to the point where you know exactly what’s going to happen next and how it’s all going to pan out in the end. In here somewhere was the seed of an interesting romcom, but it got lost in a haze of bad screenwriting, excessive over-acting and dubious motivations. Come in Stangle Brothers – your 15 minutes of fame are up. Mediocre fluff. **

  • emerb

    Director Jake Szymanski proves himself a worthy comedy director with his first feature film, “Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates”. Loosely based on the viral ad for wedding dates dates posted on Craigslist by real-life brothers Dave and Mike Stangle (played here by Zac Efron and Adam Devine), the film takes a simple idea and expands it into a full-blown but very raunchy comedy. I thought it was surprisingly engaging and very funny summer comedy, if somewhat predictable.

    Mike and Dave Stangle are two single, party-loving brothers with a tendency for destroying every family gathering – thanks to their love of crazy stunts. Their sister, Jeanie (Sugar Lyn Beard), is about to get married in Hawaii, and she is worried the pair will cause mayhem so the family gives them an ultimatum: If they want to be part of the wedding, they must rein in their exuberance and find a pair
    of nice young women to bring as dates. Having female companionship, the reasoning goes, will civilize the riotous young bros. This leads the hapless to embark on an ill-fated ploy whereby they put out an ad offering an all-expenses-paid trip to the wedding. Soon they were deluged with women (and even men!) wanting to be chosen. Of course, instead of snaring a couple of “decent” young ladies to squire to the nuptials, the brothers are conned by a pair of drunken party girls Alice (Anna Kendrick) and Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) who simply want to a free holiday. Films like “Wedding Crashers” and “Bridesmaids” are so popular because weddings tend to be prone to hilarious chaos. That’s why, for me, the movie only really starts to get going when the crew arrives in Hawaii and the shenanigans begin.

    Needless to say, Efron just has to showcase his impressive abs but he is growing into a reliable and charming comic actor. It’s the performances by Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick as the two “dates” that truly made this movie work for me. As Tatiana, Plaza is ill-tempered, domineering and gleefully manipulative, while Alice is seemingly sweet and vulnerable, but also a colossal mess. Sugar Lyn Beard
    gets some of the worst abuse as the boys’ little sister Jeanie, while Stephen
    Root is perfect as the boys’ father, and Alice Wetterlund shines as their competitive cousin Terry.

    “Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates” is not for you if you’re easily offended, it’s harsh, crude, vulgar and dirty minded but it is hilarious and the beauty of the film is that, although the content is utterly coarse, it’s well-crafted and has heart. It presents as a collection of set-pieces. Some work better than others and even the ones that don’t have so much life and energy that they are sure to raise
    a smile and they keep the story moving forward. Highlights include an argument
    accidentally broadcast over a live microphone, a disaster involving an all-terrain vehicle, a crazy incident with horses and ecstasy but the best is a tantric massage scene involving an agile Indian masseur played by Kumail Nanjiani, who steals the entire movie with his “energetic” spa session scene with the bride. In a summer of lack-lustre comedies, this is one worth watching thanks to the spot-on comic timing of the principal characters and a humorous storyline. It certainly had me laughing.

  • Joseph McCarthy

    When two guys with a questionable history at family events are ordered by their parents to find acceptable dates for their sister’s wedding, two party girls see it as a free holiday to Hawaii. What follows is a fairly by the numbers comedy, with Devine and Plaza outshining their costars, and are far more believeable in their roles.