By Michael Kaye
Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates (Review)
Has 2016 been a good year for comedies? I honestly have no idea. What I do know is that the reason I was very excited for today's film was because I'm a huge fan of the main ensemble cast, which consists of Zac Efron, Adam DeVine, Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick. So far none of them have really had the best year at the movies, but I'm really hoping that Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates turns things around.
Here's the story. Mike and Dave are young, adventurous, fun-loving brothers who tend to get out of control at family gatherings. When their sister Jeanie reveals her Hawaiian wedding plans, the rest of the Stangles insist that the brothers bring respectable dates. After placing an ad on Craigslist, the siblings decide to pick Tatiana and Alice, two charming and seemingly normal women. Once they arrive on the island, however, Mike and Dave realize that their companions are ready to get wild and party.
Ordinarily, I would probably despise this movie, especially one that's seemingly trying to outdo Wedding Crashers over a decade later. Good news is that I don't hate this movie, in fact I quite enjoyed it. If you know me, you can probably guess one of the reasons why, but if you're new to the website, here are my positives and negatives.
*Possible spoilers ahead*
First off, the cast is great. What surprised me the most was how good Anna Kendrick turned out to be. Not only did she already have great on screen chemistry with her real life best friend Aubrey Plaza, but I totally bought into the romance between her and Zac Efron. Speaking of which, Adam DeVine and Zac Efron as the titular Mike and Dave Stangle were hilarious, especially during the big crying scene from the trailers. During the credits they showed all the outtakes, and it just made me think what a blast it must have been on this set.
The story, while at times a little conventional, I thought was actually pretty engaging. Would you believe me if I told you this was based on a true story, if they didn't already mention that in the opening credits? Obviously the parts that they changed were the girls, who were not nearly as crazy as Alice and Tatiana, but Mike and Dave Stangle really did put out an ad on Craigslist for dates to bring to their sister's wedding. And personally, I'm glad they made this change, because it allowed for Alice and Tatiana to be three dimensional characters. In fact, if this was framed differently, they would be the main characters, and the movie would play out more like a female version of Wedding Crashers. I'm not sure if that was what screenwriters Andrew Jay Cohen and Brendan O'Brian were going for, but that's at least how I saw it.
There were a lot of great comedic set pieces, but one of my favorites that got a big laugh from the audience was the backstage fight between Mike and Dave at Jeanie's rehearsal dinner. You'd think this would be the part of the movie that I'd despise, since it's a cliché that comes with the same package as "the misunderstanding" and "the liar revealed," but it's a different enough spin that made it more enjoyable. Plus, it helps that you have two actors of their talent delivering the dialogue.
Finally, would it really surprise you that they threw in a musical number towards the end of the film, just to show off their talents? Yeah, aside from Plaza, everyone else has loads of experience in musicals, with Efron's claim to fame being the High School Musical trilogy, and Kendrick and DeVine starring in Pitch Perfect 1 and 2.
For negatives, I honestly don't have too many. The only one I can really think of is the fact that it's super obvious that this movie was Jake Szymanski's feature film directorial debut. I know he also did the TV movie 7 Days in Hell for HBO, but that was more of a documentary style comedy as opposed to a conventional narrative. I do like his style, he's got some solid comedic timing, but it wasn't quite as tight as Neighbors or Wedding Crashers, two of my favorite comedies of all time.
Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates was a fun time at the movies. As far as the comedy goes, your mileage may very, but if you're a fan of the four main leads, then you should absolutely go check this out. I'd like to see more from director Jake Szymanski, and I'd really like to see Zac Efron team up more often with Adam DeVine in the future.
Now I wanna hear from you guys! Have you seen Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates, and if so what did you think? Also, what are some of your favorite comedic ensemble casts? Drop your thoughts in the comments below, and stay tuned for my review, where I learn all about my cat's adventures in The Secret Life of Pets.