Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (2016)

They needed hot dates. They got hot messes.

Zac Efron has had a bit of a rough patch these past twelve months. His electro dance drama We Are Your Friends (2015) opened with one of the worst weekends in US box office history, his crude early-year flounder Dirty Grandpa (2016) was mauled by critics while the raunchy sequel Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016) grossed just over a third of the original flick’s take. This however hasn’t stopped Efron from his relentless pursuit to make it big, the 28-year-old trying his luck out again in yet another naughty comedy, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates — a screwball bro-com where the best jokes actually come from the badly behaved babes.

I can't stop drinking about you!
I can’t stop drinking about you!

Inspired by the wild true story of two brothers Mike and Dave Stangle, who in 2013, placed an ad on Craigslist trolling for dates to accompany them to their cousin’s wedding, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates takes this very zany idea and runs with it, screenwriters Andrew Jay Cohen and Brendan O’Brien — who penned Efron’s Neighbors (2014) — twisting the formula by making the girls even crazier than the guys. By taking a quick glance at the poster, audiences probably know what to expect from a trashy millennial romp such as this one (over-the-top partying, gross-out-gags, gratuitous drug use and nudity) but Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates offers a little more — a bit of sweetness in amongst the juvenile shenanigans. Don’t get me wrong, there’s idiocy aplenty, with an ATV accident turning the bride-to-be into Two-Face and a robustly erotic masseuse (Kumail Nanjiani), but beneath all the adolescent rowdiness beats a genuine heart.

Zac Efron and Adam DeVine play the cheerfully delinquent Dave and Mike Stangle, two party animal siblings with a tainted history of screwing things up at their family gatherings. But, when their sister Jeanie (Sugar Lyn Beard) announces that she’ll be getting married in Hawaii, the family holds an intervention, demanding that the boys bring respectable dates to the event to keep them in check. To fulfill their sister’s request Mike and Dave run a nationwide contest that starts on Craigslist and culminates with an appearance on The Wendy Williams Show, where they promise their selected companions an all-expenses paid trip to The Big Island. Enter Alice (Anna Kendrick) and Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza), two balls-out slobs who can’t even get their waitressing job right, having recently been fired due to repeatedly turning up to work drunk and out of control. After seeing Mike and Dave on the telly, the girls figure they could do with a free vacation, and devise a scheme to get the brothers to notice them, transforming their trashy demeanors into something more respectable. After a masquerade of lies and deceit, the Stangles end up inviting the down-on-their-luck ladies to their sister’s shindig and that’s where the fun begins.

'Uh Oh ... Busted!'
‘Uh Oh … Busted!’

Truth be told, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates doesn’t really have much of a plot; there’s a basic premise with a slew of episodic setups that more-or-less see the girls try to ‘make nice’ with the bickering brothers in the ceremonial lead up, the cast doing their very best to sustain the laughs. That said, Aubrey Plaza, The To Do List (2013), kills it as Tatiana, the bad girl pretending to be good, with her devilish expressions and wicked fakery stealing the show — whether she’s pretending to be a sugary sweet schoolteacher or delivering an acidy grin, the 32-year-old comedian totally owns the role. While Plaza churns out a winning satire of niceness, her real-life best friend Anna Kendrick, Pitch Perfect (2012), plays Alice, an actual nice girl who’s lost her way after being dumped at the alter some years earlier, the talented Kendrick providing a dippy counterpart to Plaza’s alpha bitch from Philly.

Compared to Alice and Tatiana, the boys seem relatively low-key. Zac Efron showcases his solid comic timing (along with a passable Aussie accent) as the chiseled Dave whereas his rubbery-faced partner Adam DeVine, Pitch Perfect 2 (2015), goes for broke as the unhinged Mike — who’s constantly being toyed with by the naughty Tatiana — the polar opposite duo selling their brotherly bond with a hyperactive sorta fusion. Elsewhere Alice Wetterlund plays Mike and Dave’s pansexual cousin Terry, who’s always competing with Mike (usually over the same woman), the stand-up-comedian fashioning a 80s-type of advisory who’s got several tricks up her sleeve. Rounding out the cast is Sam Richardson, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016), who plays Jeanie’s African American fiancée, the impressively boring Eric.

'I declare shenanigans!'
‘I declare shenanigans!’

Directed by first timer Jake Szymanski, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is a bit uneven and probably features a little too much improv — you’ll also find the obligatory outtakes during the end credits. Nevertheless, this equal opportunity lampoon gives both sexes their moments to misbehave. Sure, Mike and Dave don’t scrub up as nicely as 2005’s Wedding Crashers, but hey, I’d rather attend this party than hang out with another dirty grandpa.

3 / 5 – Good

Reviewed by Mr. Movie

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is released through 20th Century Fox Australia