Review of “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates”: Comedy is “Wedding Crashers,” “Bridesmaids” and “Hangover” rolled into one, just more forgettable. Rating: 2 out of 4 stars
The on-screen words “Based on a true story, sort of” kick off “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates,” a movie inspired by an incident that sounds a) like somebody made it up, and b) like it should have already been a movie. Mike and Dave Stangle are an actual pair of New York-area bros who in 2013 placed a Craigslist ad looking for dates for a family wedding. From this jovial ad came not actual dates (they ended up going with a pair of women they already knew), but TV appearances, a book deal, a publicist, and a movie adaptation, with Adam Devine and Zac Efron as the title characters. This is, to put it mildly, more than most of us find on Craigslist.
And the resultant movie is like a lot of weddings: sporadically fun, draggy in spots, ultimately forgettable. In the Hollywood version of events, two hard-partying, sardonic women named Alice (Anna Kendrick) and Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) decide to masquerade as perfect dates in order to get a free trip to Hawaii (where the destination wedding will take place). Off they go, greeted with glee by Mike and Dave’s family — but, as Alice soon groans, “Being a good girl is haaaard.”
Director Jake Szymanski appears to have watched “Wedding Crashers,” “The Hangover” and “Bridesmaids” carefully, coming up with a movie that’s similar to them yet not as good. You’ve seen this cheery, slapdash blend of raunch, cocktails and summer dresses before. Efron and Devine agreeably yell most of their lines. Kendrick and Plaza intone theirs in goofy deadpan, and the story unfolds like … wait, there’s no actual story here, just an incident stretched out. Getting a laugh or two, with a talented cast, is easy; making a good movie, it turns out, is haaaard.
Movie Review ★★
‘Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates,’ with Zac Efron, Anna Kendrick, Adam Devine, Aubrey Plaza, Stephen Root, Stephanie Faracy, Sugar Lyn Beard, Sam Richardson, Alice Wetterlund. Directed by Jake Szymanski, from a screenplay by Andrew Jay Cohen and Brendan O’Brien. 98 minutes. Rated R for crude sexual content, language throughout, drug use and some graphic nudity. Several theaters.