Save the date for ‘Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates’

Colleen Kelly

Wedding season might not be so tedious this year.

Brothers Mike (Adam DeVine) and Dave (Zac Efron) have always been the life and death of their family’s parties. When their sister Jeanie decides to have a lavish Hawaiian wedding, their parents force them to bring respectable wedding dates to keep them out of trouble. The two make a viral PSA looking for dates that catches the attention of party girls Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) and Alice (Anna Kendrick) who scam their way into being the brothers’ dates and partying hard, much to Mike’s and Dave’s dismay.

If I were to sum up this film in a single critique, it would be that while the majority of the film was funny, it took things too far. The overall premise (supposedly inspired by true events) was a ton of fun, and the casting was great in that our four core actors had awesome comedic chemistry to bring the script to life. However, my main grievance with any comedy is when they beat a joke to death or go for shock factor over cleverness, and “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” was unfortunately guilty of both. That doesn’t mean that I and the rest of the theater weren’t cracking up for most of the runtime – because we definitely were – just that a lot of the running gags were good, but they went on for so long that they became awkward or uncomfortable.

However, none of that quite overshadows just how laugh out loud hilarious our four leads truly were in this film. These four actors have truly come into their own and each bring something fresh and fun to the table. I’d be remiss not mention just how amazing Plaza was from start to finish in committing to her role. Her performance was right up there with her best “Parks and Rec” episodes, and she and Kendrick’s characters had a very April and Andy quality to it that just worked. Efron and DeVine played hapless party boys, as has been their tendency in recent years, but they know how to play up the physical and raunchy comedy enough that they distinguish these roles from their past roles, if only slightly.

The location for the film carried most of its weight in terms of technicality. Setting a film in Hawaii gives you a lot to work with: beautiful beach settings, outdoor sports, luaus and hotel shenanigans. Hawaii is such an easy location, though, that setting a film there seems lazy, as it checks off every box on my previously mentioned list of predictable tropes like its comedic predecessors “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” “50 First Dates” and “Just Go With It.” This film was loud, colorful and surprisingly tightly paced when it could have been a hot mess, so kudos to the editing team for keeping it mostly on track and memorable amongst other comedies set in Hawaii.

What “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” did so well was highlighting the strengths of its four highly talented comedic actors and getting its audience invested in its characters. The entertainment factor of this film is pretty high, but that stems mainly from its own self-indulgence that deeply impacted the film’s overall quality. This loud, raunchy comedy is perfect for the summer if you just want to turn your brain off for a few hours and laugh.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars