“Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is an aggressively lame comedy”
The more I thought about it, it was only a matter of time before the millennials and those of generation Z got their own Wedding Crashers-esque movie, but did the end result really have to be this mediocre? Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is an aggressively lame comedy, similar in vein to Central Intelligence, which was released a few weeks ago, in that it takes its respective genre and simply milks it for more of the same tired setups. This time around, rather than stale race jokes with a threadbare action-comedy plot, we have tired penis jokes and rampant vulgarity than often amount to many things, yet never humor.
The biggest tragedy with Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, however, is that it probably should’ve been called “Tatiana and Alice Need a Vacation,” in reference to the female characters the titular characters bring to their sister Jeanie’s (Stephanie Beard) wedding. Tatiana and Alice, played by Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick, two viciously likable leading women, provide and sustain the film and its concept with more laughs than Mike and Dave, played by Adam DeVine and Zac Efron, ever could. The simple reason for that is the female characters have humor predicated upon everything from social awkwardness, being fish out of water, faking their personalities, verbal wit, and the ability to possess social graces whilst completely abandoning them. The humor the leading male characters have starts and stops at their ability to yell and ugly cry.
The reason Mike and Dave, the twentysomething neanderthals who are currently running their own liquor business, need to get wedding dates is because their parents are sick and tired of them going to weddings single and attempting to pick up every woman they see. The ad they post that explains they’re seeking dates for a wedding in Hawaii winds up going viral and becoming a pop culture sensation in the blink of an eye. Tatiana and Alice, two burnout girls living a lackadaisical life in a small apartment together until happy hour rolls around again, see Mike and Dave on “The Wendy Williams Show” one day and decide to “clean up their act” in order to get a free vacation.
In addition to the great dialog and material they’re given by screenwriters Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O’Brien, Plaza and Kendrick also make their characters work simply by being their energetic and lovable selves. Another notable character in the film is the boys’ cocky, competitive cousin Terry (Alice Wetterlund), who loves to brag that she is neighbors with Chris Rock. Wetterlund is a presence in the film largely because she’s laidback and a pleasant contrast to the titular characters’ boisterous, childish behavior.
But in many ways, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is just business as usual, capitalizing off of lazily written jokes to decorate a fairly mean-spirited plot about a series of selfish and contemptible characters that, try as Cohen and O’Brien might, cannot be made likable at the end of the film based on some ludicrous “anxiety” and “insecurity” justification.
For some, the film may represent a great night out with the guys. For me, it represents yet another screenplay DeVine, Efron, Plaza, and Kendrick wind up wasting their time with when they’ve all proven themselves to be so much more in past projects. As an exercise, below I’ll list one movie starring each of the four performers that you should seek out instead of Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, all of which are comedy-dramas, and some even on Netflix: Watch Instant.
Adam DeVine – The Intern
Zac Efron – At Any Price
Aubrey Plaza – Safety Not Guaranteed
Anna Kendrick – Drinking Buddies