We have seen numerous takes on the raunchy wedding comedy and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is, well, another one. A grouping of actors who’ve done the genre in considerably better work before on film and television, the pic is stale and uninspired. It even wastes its gorgeous Hawaiian locale in a way that Forgetting Sarah Marshall didn’t.
The title characters are actual people – the Stangle Brothers – whose life story inspired the events that take place here. Dave (Zac Efron) and Mike (Adam DeVine) lead an aimless and hard partying existence while running a liquor business. We’re not really shown many of their wild exploits. In fact, Dave seems like a somewhat well-adjusted and dull dude. Mike, with DeVine’s performance unsuccessfully attempting to ape a younger Jack Black, is more of an annoyance.
Brothers Stangle are called in by mom and dad when their little sister Jeanie (the coolly named Sugar Lyn Beard) is about to tie the knot. They’re asked to bring dates with the idea that they’ll be less prone to make a scene. So they put out an ad on social media which catches fire, culminating with appearing on Wendy Williams’s show.
When they finally choose their matches, it’s the equally aimless and wild duo of Alice (Anna Kendrick) and Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza). The girls are in it for the free vacay with Alice having the additional motivation of getting over recently being left at the altar. They try to act like good girls but bad things happen across the ocean.
What follows is a buffet of sex and drugs humor that does precious little to differentiate itself from other bawdy buffets we’ve been served up before. One central theme – “Hey, these gals are just as self-absorbed as the dudes!” – doesn’t add much. Like their male counterparts, Kendrick and Plaza have shined in superior material but can’t elevate this stuff. I don’t know what actually occurred or not in this story that bills itself as “sort of” true. I do know that I probably wouldn’t have wanted to hang with the real people and know for sure there’s not enough laughter in the 99 minutes watching others play them.
*1/2 (out of four)