Movie review: ‘Mike and Dave’ finds a summer comedy niche
–There’s a proud tradition of over-the-top wedding-themed comedies making a splash during summer. In 2005, that movie was “Wedding Crashers,” which featured Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson making waves and generating laughs at weddings. Later came “The Hangover” in 2009, which featured a bachelor party gone off the rails.
In the summer of 2016, we have “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.” It’s a long title, but it develops into a pretty funny movie about a pair of over-the-top brothers that try to reign it in for their sister’s destination wedding in Hawaii.
Of course, that doesn’t work out as planned, and the result is a funny, R-rated comedy that fills a couple long summer hours with laughter. It won’t win any awards, but it’s the perfect kind of entertainment for fans of the genre during this summer season.
The film is based on a true story. It centers on brothers Mike (Adam Devine) and Dave (Zac Efron) who are living the bros life as roommates. They spend their days as traveling alcohol salesmen, and their nights and weekends living it up. But their behavior — especially the way they feed off each other — has caused some issues at family functions.
With their sister, Jeanie (Sugar Lyn Beard), is about to get married, Mike and Dave’s parents (Stephen Root and Stephanie Faracy) convince the boys to find nice, respectable girls to bring to the wedding. The hope is their dates will keep them in line.
Mike and Dave set out to accomplish the task, posting an ad on Craigslist. The ad soon goes viral, and the pair become a media sensation.
Alice (Anna Kendrick), who is still recovering from being jilted at the alter, and her wild and crazy pal Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) hear Mike and Dave’s story and set their sights on a free trip to Hawaii. After selling themselves as clean cut and respectable ladies, they win the guys over and the trip is set.
But once in Hawaii, things don’t go according to plan.
No one that goes into the film is going to be surprised by the general arc of the story. There’s a certain formula to these comedies, even the ones that are about wild and crazy adventures, and you can usually set your watch to how the film is going to hit each plot point on that standard arc.
But the best of these movies endure because of the iconic characters, lines, performances and moments. That’s what sets “Wedding Crashers” and “The Hangover” apart. And that works well in the favor of “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.” They nailed the casting a performance, and that helps sell this wild ride of this film in an enjoyable and engrossing way.
It starts with Devine and Efron, who have a great rapport and comedic timing. The same goes for Kendrick and Plaza. Then when those four are thrown together, even more magic happens on screen.
The film also gets some good supporting performances. Root is strong as the exasperated father, and Beard works as the often-frustrated bride-to-be. The film also has a couple choice scene-stealers in Alice Wetterlund, who plays hipster Cousin Terry, and Sam Richardson, who plays the put upon groom, Eric. Fans of “VEEP” will recognize Richardson, who plays a similar character here and nails it.
Director Jake Szymanski takes advantage of the locations and his actors’ talents. A gag reel over the closing credits shows that a lot of on-set improvisation took place, and it’s clear that helped punch up the jokes and sequences.
While I’m not sure how close it stays to the true story it’s based upon, “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” is a fun summer ride. It promises plenty of laughs and it delivers.
“Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” has been rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for crude sexual content, language throughout, drug use and some graphic nudity. Enter with caution.
Three stars out of four.