Director: Jake Szymanski
While mostly watchable, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates neglects basic elements of plot in favour of inconsistent jokes and familiar ‘comedic’ routines, resulting in a flat, un-progressive, and un-funny story. The set-up is that Zac Efron and Adam DeVine play brothers (and partners in finance) who become the embarrassment of their immediate family because they effectively ruin every social gathering through heavy partying. On the condition that they must bring dates to their sister’s wedding so they can attend, they cross paths with two women arguably more destructive than they are (Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick), both of whom play it coy so that they get a free trip to Hawaii, where the plot can then spend the rest of its time indulging in shenanigans, misunderstandings, and fuck-ups.
The movie does subvert some expectations and the duration of the film is not spent waiting for the two leads to find the ‘ideal dates’ before the wedding. This brings a sort of farcical quality to the events, seeing as the two dates are effectively lying to the main characters about themselves. Both sets of leads actually work well with each other, and the better moments in the film come from their interactions, which seem improvised and natural. In comparison, the main jokes just seem to fall flat when they occur: for example, watching someone getting hurt or finding them in a compromising situation just feels cringe-worthy. Also like most other American comedies, there is a pervading sense of the film’s setting being used as a contributing factor in its creation. When Jurassic Park’s filming location is both explicitly mentioned and factored into the plot, expect seeing a written cheque to Universal Pictures rather than a dinosaur.
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Overall, it’s a mixed bag in its results. It shows that at times even DeVine’s exasperated, shrieking performance can make or break a scene.