Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates – 2 out of 5
For a long time, Zac Efron was just a kid from High School Musical to me. I wasn’t in the demographic for that Disney franchise so I never really paid much attention to him. The movie Neighbors changed how I looked at him and realized that he was damn funny. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates really didn’t sell me with its trailers and, due to the fact I don’t find Adam Devine funny, I predicted that Efron was probably going to be the only amusing thing about the film. Still, his presence wasn’t enough to make me wanna watch it…until I found out that Marc Maron had a small part. Yes, I’m such a fan of Maron that this movie became something I would have probably ended up watching years from now and turned it into something I better check out sooner. Sadly, Maron’s attachment wasn’t enough to get me into the film.
|And, of course, Marc is at the beginning of the movie.|
Loosely based on a true story, this film centers on two brothers; Dave (Efron) and Mike (Devine) Stangle, and a Craigslist ad they post. When their sister informs them that they have to bring dates to her wedding in Hawaii in order to quell their wild and rambunctious ways, the two posts the ad online and it goes viral. While on TV promoting what they are doing, two wild girls who just lost their jobs; Alice (Anna Kendrick) and Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza), decide to scam the guys and pretend they are “good girls” in order to get a free trip to the tropics. However, this wouldn’t be a situational comedy about two duos of liars if everything went swimmingly and, instead, all hell breaks loose.
|Take a wild guess which actor is the one who spends the whole movie trying too hard.|
Occasionally, I found a moment or two in this film to be funny—actually, the straight moments in this film might be the funniest parts. By that I mean the moments when the straight man plays off of the over-the-top stuff going on; these times felt like it was the funniest parts of the film. I even found some of the smaller moments in the film that showcases such comedic actors as Kumail Nanjiani, Stephen Root and Jake Johnson to be very memorable and made me fairly giggly (and that’s the first time I have ever described a funny moment as “giggly”). However, the rest of the film was kinda forgettable for me and I found that I just couldn’t get invested in it.
|If there's one universal truth in our reality it's that Stephen Root is amazing!|
One of the biggest issues I found for the film was Adam Devine’s usual performance style of coming off like he’s trying too hard and too desperate for attention and laughs. This ended up killing a lot of sequences in the film for me and made much of the movie a bit trying to sit through. Moments that felt like they could have been really amusing die a quick and awkward death as I had to watch Devine flounder like a fool over the punch lines in the scene and beat the gag, which might have worked, to death. Even worse than that, however, is how formulaic and cliché feel this comedy had. This movie felt like the dictionary definition of modern comedies—a.k.a. the over-reliance on the simile.
|I honestly believe he could probably be very funny if he pulled it back a little.|
But he's making money doing it this way, so whatevs.
Throughout the running length, you get scene after scene of gags and jokes that basically involve characters comparing some plot point to various other things in order to create a punch line. This is seen in a lot of movies in the Judd Apatow-era of comedies and sometimes it can work but when it isn’t working if is the horrifying realization that you are seeing a horse be beaten to its bloody end. Comedy is very subjective but, for me, these moments felt so awkward to sit through. I was a stand up comic for 15 years and these moments felt like watching a person bomb terribly on stage (it's a horrible feeling because I know I did my fair share of bombing but seeing it from the other side isn't any better).
Another thing that struck me immediately about the film was the shock of seeing Aubrey Plaza play a role that is so drastically different than what I’m used to seeing. I’ve become so accustomed to seeing Plaza as the snark-throwing sassy girl that seeing her as the inappropriate party girl was a bit jarring. She wasn’t bad in this role but it was definitely something I have never seen from her before.
|Oh, there's a song and dance number to a pop song! I just got another square|
in generic comedy Bingo!
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates might have been a decent movie that offers up some amusing moments here and there if it wasn’t held back by humor that felt too common and a lead actor that comes off like he’s trying too hard. For the most part, the film has a great cast and they probably could have made up for the weak script but, instead, I just found a movie that I couldn’t really get into and had an even harder time finding the energy for a laughing response to its mediocre humor.