My Rating: 5 out of 10
I can’t really say I was expecting much from Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, so I got more or less what I bargained for. This is a film that fills a specific comedy niche and doesn’t take itself seriously in the least. It is definitely on the stupider side of the stupid-funny spectrum, but instead of trying to hide this fact, the filmmakers went all in with an in-your-face blend of cartoonish characters, frat bro humor, and nonsensical plot points. However, this approach (along with the great cast) is probably what made the film work as much as it did. While I thought the overall plot was pretty silly and had little to no substance, there were a number of scenes that had me laughing out loud in the theatre.
The plot of Mike and Dave is simple and supposedly based on a true story. Two loser brothers, Mike (played by Adam DeVine) and Dave (played by Zac Efron), are told by their parents to find dates for their sister’s upcoming wedding in Hawaii so that they won’t wreak havoc on the event, as they usually do, in an attempt to woo women and spice up the party. After placing an ad on Craigslist that goes viral and appearing on a national television program, Mike and Dave are approached by Tatiana (played by Aubrey Plaza) and Alice (played by Anna Kendrick), two slackers only interested in partying and going on vacation, who trick the boys into taking them as their dates to the wedding. Obviously, chaos ensues.
While Mike and Dave certainly has its issues, there are also some good things to say about the film. For example, the premise is definitely interesting, especially since it is supposedly based on a true story. The cast playing the main characters are excellent, even though their roles didn’t allow them to utilize their acting or comedic talents to the same extent as they have in other films. With this said, there was a real chemistry between Anna Kendrick’s character and Zac Efron’s character, which provided the film with a few scenes that genuinely mattered and made me care about those characters and their lives. On top of this, the Jurassic Park ATV left me wanting to book a trip to Hawaii (after looking it up and finding out that it really exists).
One main issue with the film is that the characters are mostly archetypes with similar personality traits, especially Tatiana (Aubrey) and Mike (Adam), who are so overtly narcissistic that it borders on cartoonish. Even most of the minor characters felt like they had been pulled from other similar films and given a dash of quirkiness to make them fit into the circus act. Outside of the aforementioned connection between Dave (Zac) and Alice (Anna), there was no one that I really cared about or rooted for. I feel like the main difference between Dave and Alice from the others was that they were given a bit of a back story, which allowed them to have something of a character arc, whereas Mike and Tatiana were just crappy, shallow people for nearly the entire movie. I felt a little bad for Mike at first, but eventually became pretty apathetic towards him.
The film also seemed like it was building towards making a point about understanding other people and feeling empathy as well as being less dependent on others, but instead of running with this, the boys end up ruining everything in the end anyway except with the help of the girls this time. They went from being single party-minded bumblers to party-minded bumblers with equally party-minded girlfriends. I think that even in the midst of such a ridiculous and dumb film, the writers could have still had the characters change each other for the better to make a point about what it means to grow up and be responsible or, at the very least, about how understanding people and being less self-absorbed is a good thing. There was a little of that, but the writers didn’t fully deliver for whatever reason, which I think is one of many key factors that prevented Mike and Dave from being as good as movies like The Hangover, Step Brothers, or Neighbors.
Speaking of which, while watching Mike and Dave, I kept thinking that the movie seemed like a blend of the Step Brothers story structure with characters and plot points drawn from the Neighbors movies. When I looked into it, I realized that the writers for this film are the same writers that did the Neighbors films. But unlike Neighbors 2, which mixed frat boy humor with timely, self-aware social commentary, Mike and Dave stuck hard to the frat boy stuff and eschewed offering anything that the audience could take away from the story. It is worth noting that some of the jokes were so brazen that I was actually a bit shocked seeing them in a modern comedy at a time where filmmakers are cautious to avoid upsetting segments of their audience with jokes that may be seen as “going too far.” It felt like the writers wanted to tell the story of the real Mike and Dave without watering it down with a strong message, but tried a little too hard to make it ridiculously funny to the point where the movie became unbelievable. While the events could have happened in real life, there is no way they happened in the way presented in the film, at the very least because the characters in the film were more cartoons than real people.
Mike and Dave isn’t a film for everyone, but I still recommend checking it out once it comes to television/streaming if you like any of the cast or just get a kick out of super goofy humor. It isn’t a smart film even within the context of the stupid humor comedy niche, but it has a lot of scenes that had me and my friends cracking up. Just don’t go expecting a movie on par with Neighbors or The Hangover, because you will likely be disappointed.