Directed by Jake Szymanski. Produced by Peter Chernin, Jonathan Levine, David Ready, and Jenno Topping. Written by Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O’Brien. Release date: July 8, 2016.
Mike and Dave Stangle (Adam DeVine and Zac Efron) need wedding dates. Their sister (Stephanie Beard) is getting married, and their parents told them that they can’t come to the ceremony without “nice” dates, because they have a tendency to ruin family outings with their debauchery. In order to get dates, they post an ad on Craigslist, it goes viral, and eventually they wind up with Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) and Alice (Anna Kendrick). But the girls aren’t who they seem, and soon enough the entire wedding is put into jeopardy. Oh, and it’s “based on a true story.” “Kind of.”
In reality, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is based on something that happened in 2013. Most of what happens in the movie is either highly exaggerated or completely fabricated, but the base of the story, according to the Stangle brothers, is true. We don’t really get comedies based on real life a whole lot – filmmakers think they’re funnier than reality, I guess – but this is one that can make that claim. It can also make the claim that it’s the funniest comedy of the summer. Because it’s hilarious.
Look, I know: The advertising for Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates has been insufferable. The trailers have been bad, the TV spots are annoying, and none of it looks that funny. The reason for this is because the good jokes have been saved for the movie. We get mad at trailers all the time for “ruining the best parts,” so it’s refreshing to see one where the funniest moments haven’t been revealed to us already. In fact, for better or worse, some of the scenes in the trailer have been excised from the final cut of the film – likely to be added back for the “Unrated” home video release, or maybe just as extras.
The point is, you’re going to be seeing new things when you watch the movie. Much of the dialogue has been ad-libbed, so there were surely dozens of takes from which to pick the best one. It’s raunchy, hard-R rated dialogue, too, so if you’re in the mood for that kind of thing, you’re going to be in for a treat. That’s one of the two ways the film tries to make you laugh. The other comes from extended screwball-type sequences. Both work. The movie is start-to-finish laughs.
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is the funniest movie of summer 2016.
However, it doesn’t just have laughs. It has a few life lessons to teach its characters – and theoretically some of its audience members – along the way. All four of these individuals need to grow up in one way or another, and this Hawaiian wedding will hopefully be the catalyst for that change. This isn’t deep stuff, but it’s something extra that adds to the film, and makes the plot feel more than just an excuse for the various shenanigans.
If you’re looking for previous films to compare Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates to, I can think of a couple: Wedding Crashers and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. It has elements of both, the comedy is often not dissimilar, and it’s pretty much just as funny – if not funnier, overall. I think I laughed more at this one than either of those, but the recency effect can play tricks on one’s mind.
Since much of the dialogue consists of ad-libbing, it’s up to the cast to make us laugh and be on-point. To that end, the four leads are tremendous. Zac Efron has found his calling with these raunchy comedies. Adam DeVine has always been great at this sort of thing. Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick kill it both while pretending to be “nice” girls and when letting loose. The chemistry among the four of them is fantastic. The characters are a little light, and they’re often not great people, but you find yourself wanting to spend more time with them because of how funny they are and how well they’re being played.
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is the funniest movie of summer 2016. It’s a riot from start to finish if you like prolonged screwball shenanigans and raunchy ad-libbed back-and-forths. The cast kills it in almost every scene and there’s even a little bit of growth from the characters along the way. It’s not particularly memorable and it doesn’t have a lot of depth to it – or much of anything intellectually stimulating – but it’s hilarious and that’s the most important thing when it comes to a comedy. Is Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates funny? Yes. Yes, it is.
Bottom Line: Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is far funnier than I thought it would be.
Recommendation: If you want a raunchy comedy, go see Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.[rating=3.5]
If you want more of Matthew “Marter” Parkinson, you can follow him on the Twitter @Martertweet.