Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates : Based on a real-life Craigslist ad posted in 2013, Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates stars Adam DeVine and Zac Efron as a pair of party boys in desperate need of two respectable young women to accompany them to their sister’s wedding in Hawaii. Hedonistic bad girls Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick play nice so they can tag along for the ride, resulting in an anarchic series of increasingly debauched disasters.
Too much DeVine isn’t fine. With a pretty stellar comedic cast at its disposal, Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates is a film that should be considerably funnier than it is, and the reason for this failure is predominantly down to a gross mishandling of its resources. It becomes apparent at an early stage that despite four big names in the lead roles, it is DeVine in the character of Mike who is the undisputed star of this movie. The issue is that even if you’re someone who considers themselves a fan of over-the-top and irreverent humor, his ridiculous and loud man-child shtick will really start to grate before long. In the opening scenes his hyperactive nature makes for a few good gags but once the movie shifts to Hawaii it really doubles down on pushing DeVine to the fore, meaning that his over-stimulated, nonsensical ramblings soon begin to dominate every other aspect of the film to the point that you’re craving any scene in which he doesn’t feature so you can rest your ears for a few moments. Whilst his style of humor is undoubtedly popular considering the success of the shows and films he has featured in, the oversaturation of DeVine’s comedic nature slowly drags this film down to a level from which it cannot recover.
Efron and Plaza go to waste. All of this would be bad enough if DeVine was the biggest star and was expected to carry the film alone, but the disappointing reality is that the focus on him in Mike & Dave means much of the other talent around him goes to waste. If there had been more balance to this film’s dynamics then perhaps DeVine wouldn’t have become quite so tiresome so quickly, but unfortunately, both Zac Efron and Aubrey Plaza are forced to take a back seat, leading to neither of them coming close to delivering performances close to their potential. Efron was comfortably the best thing about Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, released earlier this year, as he was afforded free reign to play the loveably dim-witted jock character that he excels as, and the superb chemistry he enjoyed with Seth Rogen in both Neighbors films was sorely absent with DeVine here. Plaza, meanwhile, plays a character so relentlessly mean that she just feels like a total caricature, which is a far cry away from the endearing, tongue-in-cheek cynicism that made her such a star in Parks & Recreation. As for Anna Kendrick, she is undoubtedly a competent actress but she felt noticeably out of depth alongside three seasoned actors for whom comedy is a specialty, and her character was comfortably the weakest of the four.
No substance beneath the anarchy. The film also suffers greatly from having its painfully thin premise dragged out over what seems like a far longer 98 minutes, with many of the comedic set-pieces feeling like a long series of standalone sketches as opposed to being part of anything resembling a well-written narrative structure. The initial idea behind Mike & Dave sounds like it has potential and the opening 20 minutes are comfortably the film’s strongest, but once the four leads touch down in Hawaii it soon devolves into a movie devoid of any real direction or purpose. The audience is treated to a series of loosely connected events of increasing degeneracy that just feel like tired rehashes of so many comedies you will have seen before. The lack of originality becomes at its most apparent when the film tries to do what all of these debauched comedies do by drawing some sort of emotional resolution from out of its ass, completely ignoring the fact that after making these characters seem as mean-natured, selfish and generally dislikeable as possible for over an hour, showing them find some sort of heart-warming catharsis just feels cheap and undeserved. These moments aren’t a given and have to be earned, even in a comedy such as this. The only thing that saves the film from being a total dud is that, admittedly, there are a number of solid one-liners that do raise a respectable number of laughs throughout, and if a comedy is able to that, despite the rest of it being pretty awful, then it does deserve a couple of stars at least.