Hard-partying brothers Mike (Adam Devine) and Dave (Zac Efron) place an online ad to find the perfect dates (Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza) for their sister’s Hawaiian wedding. Hoping for a wild getaway, the boys instead find themselves outsmarted and out-partied by the uncontrollable duo.
Rating: R (for crude sexual content, language throughout, drug use and some graphic nudity)
Directed By: Jake Szymanski
Written By: Andrew Jay Cohen , Brendan O’Brien
In Theaters: Jul 8, 2016 wide
Box Office: $16628170
Runtime: 98 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox
The script by Andrew Jay Cohen and Brendan O’Brien, who adapted the book, is a disappointing nosedive after their screenplay for “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising.” “Mike and Dave” is directed by Jake Szymanski, who has a host of Funny or Die shorts and the HBO tennis comedy “7 Days in Hell” under his belt, but his feature debut doesn’t prove that he can handle multiple storylines that are intended to stretch beyond a few minutes.
This movie will leave you with many more questions than answers. Such as: If Mike and Dave ruin every family party, why would their family think asking them to bring dates is going to remedy the situation? That’s literally doubling the trouble. Furthermore, why do drunken train wrecks Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) and Alice (Kendrick) want to be their dates? Sure, it’s a free vacation to Hawaii, but they have to go to great lengths to convince the guys that they’re “nice girls,” when they’re actually mentally unstable drug addicts. And after all that, why do they quickly and cavalierly confess their lies halfway through the movie, fizzling out all the tension?
Plaza and Kendrick pull the short straws in the character department, and their performances don’t help. The bizarre “urban” accent Plaza puts on as Tatiana is confounding and borders on offensive. Someone needs to stage an intervention with her representation. This is her second strike after the abomination that is “Dirty Grandpa.” (Efron also has blood on his hands for that one.)
Kendrick indulges her worst tendencies of quirky, grating affectations. Here’s an Oscar nominee in a movie where she covers her breasts with a horse’s mane during a drug trip, for crying out loud. But trying to puzzle out the complicated sexual and gender politics here would be an exercise in futility.
Efron usually elevates everything with his sweet stupidity, but he gets only a few moments to shine as Dave. Adam Devine is vein-poppingly intense and ridiculous as Mike, and squeezes in a laugh or two when he’s allowed to be his weirdest. There are some comic high points: Alice Wetterlund’s butch bisexual cousin Terry is second only to Sam Richardson, as the groom, who knows no equal when it comes to playing endearingly nerdy fussbudgets. But on the wildly uneven rollercoaster that is “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates,” the lows far outweigh the highs.