By Laurie Coker
While it’s better than Neighbors 2, far better than the original Neighbors, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is still just a juvenile, testosterone driven party fest of dirty jokes and nasty gags. Zac Efron and Adam Devine star as the titular characters and Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza play their less than couth wedding dates. As expected, the journey from needed, getting and attending the wedding and beyond is a wild, booze and drug filled ride.
The title speaks for itself. After showing up and ruining almost every family event ever (as proven in photographs and videos), Dave and Mike’s parents lay down the law that if they do not show up with dates, they cannot attend their younger sister’s wedding. Dave, the younger of the two, looks up to older brother Mike, but seems to be the more levelheaded. Still, he follows his older brother, out of some sort of misplaced idolization, into making one bad decision after another. Best friends and wild partiers Tatania (Plaza) and Alice (Kendrick) learn that Dave and Mike are looking for dates to a Hawaiian destination wedding and see it as a way to get a free vacation. The ladies “clean up” their acts – one posing as a teacher and the other as a hedge funder (although both do a terrible job pretending, but the guys are too dense to notice). As expected things go terribly awry and the wedding is both ruined and later saved by the brothers and their nasty girl dates.
Admittedly, I laughed, but not as much as my guest, a man who found the film far more entertaining than I. There are some funny moments and thankfully Eforn removes his shirt and generally looks as always, adorable. Devine, keeps himself under wraps in some of the most outlandish outfits, but he garners some quality chuckles. Kendrick is better in more serious or youthful roles, not playing the boozing slutty girl type nearly as well as Plaza. Overall the supporting cast is great, but the story is just another in a long line of this type of mindless, slapstick and dirty jokes and goofy pranks.
Here’s to hoping Kendrick and Efron go back to fresher, more meaningful roles. Plaza, too, is quite versatile and could take better films. That said, I’d like to give Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates a better grade, because I heard laughs throughout the theatre, and I know I am not the target demographic, but I can’t see giving it higher than a C- and that is generous. I began by saying it is a better film that Neighbors, which I loathed and its sequel, which I didn’t hate, and I mean it, but that doesn’t imply I liked it as much as others in the audiences did, including my date. Scripted or adlibbed, none of the comedy is rises above potty level.