It could be very easy for a film like Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates to be bad. The poster and marketing has not exactly filled anyone with confidence, it’s over reliance on the usual fratboy-esque gags and male-dominated humour certainly offering up the impression that this is one ‘just for the lads’.
There’s nothing wrong with comedies like that. But when the film stars two very talented actresses in leading roles, it’s always a worry that they’re there purely as the straight ‘man’, so to speak, to simply react to the jokes and raucous incident displayed by the titular male stars. Think Mila Kunis in Ted or Amanda Seyfried in Ted 2 and you’ll get the picture!
Thankfully though with Mike and Dave, director Jake Szymanski and screenwriters Andrew J. Cohen & Brendan O’Brien decide to ensure everyone here is given plenty of opportunity to crack a funny, as opposed to simply giving all the best bits to stars Zac Efron or Adam DeVine, despite the fact that the plot hinges around their characters.
Mike and Dave is, for the most part, a success. The plot is simple: Brothers Mike (DeVine) and Dave (Efron) always cause trouble at family events. Their parents insist they bring respectable dates to their sister’s upcoming Hawaiian wedding to keep them in check. Unfortunately, they unknowingly bring along wayward party animals Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) and Alice (Anna Kendrick), both of whom are secretly passing themselves off as said-respectable dates to bag a free vacation. Cue all manner of raunchy, screwball style hijinks.
Where the film really works is its equal-opportunity level of comedy – the boys and the girls all get a chance to shine in the film’s funnier stand-out moments, yet never at the expense of the other. Every main character gets a fair serving of jokes, bordering on pure wit and classic slapstick to the downright rude, crude and cringey. Even the film’s secondary cast-members, including Sugar Lyn Beard as sister Jeanie, get away with some funny moments snatched here and there. It’s rare to see a comedy film gift it’s entire ensemble with a fair share of decent jokes and comedic setpieces.
Sadly, despite this, the film falls into several other traps that usually befall modern comedies. There’s an unnecessary amount of schmaltz piled on in the final act, whilst as a whole the film falls back on using overfamiliar gags from other recent comedies. So much so that you could be forgiven for thinking the director was going down a checklist of comedy movie tropes (drunken pratfalls, forced pop-culture references, celebrity cameos, drug-induced mayhem, all present and correct!). It also doesn’t help that Adam DeVine suddenly switches from funny to simply loud and annoying about two-thirds in.
For all its bravado and fun, Mike and Dave is forgettable stuff, though entertaining for the most part, thanks to a decent plethora of jokes, and a fair share of centrepiece moments for both it’s male and female stars. Frankly, it’s refreshing to see a male-orientated comedy refuse to centre its funnier moments on just its two male leads.
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates opens in UK Cinemas 10th August.
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