‘Mike and Dave’ Need Better Scripts (FILM REVIEW)

[rating=6.00]

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is little more than your typical summer comedy. In the grand tradition of summer comedies, it’s the kind of movie you go to, maybe giggle at a few times, and quickly forget, even if you leave with vague feelings of warm happiness. That’s all it really needs to be, and it never strives for more. Whether or not you enjoy it is largely dependent upon your ability to laugh at surface level people and their surface level issues.

Which doesn’t need to be a bad thing, as lukewarm as that might sound. On the contrary, there’s some merit in the concept of the dumb summer comedy; it’s a genre that serves a purpose and its persistence alone makes it worthy of consideration. The nature of comedy being what it is, however, it’s one of the more subjective genres to tackle. Is it funny? Sure. Is that enough? Hard to say.

Adam Devine and Zac Efron star as the titular Mike and Dave, two underachieving party boys whose history of ruining family gatherings with their drunken, immature antics prompts their father (Stephen Root) to demand the boys find dates with nice, wholesome girls for their sister Jeanie’s (Sugar Lyn Beard) upcoming wedding in Hawaii. The boys then turn to Craigslist to find the perfect ladies, eventually leading them to Alice and Tatiana (Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza). Despite portraying themselves as upstanding professional women, the two girls party harder than even Mike and Dave, setting up the potential for yet another ruined family gathering.

It’s all just your basic set up as an excuse for madcappery, which is handled well enough, despite the fact that crazy shenanigans are quickly becoming a played out source for comedy. These days it seems that every new comedy is either the traditional gang of man-children behaving poorly or the new gang of women behaving like teens. I guess a faceoff between the old and the new was somewhat inevitable, but the movie never quite becomes the battle of the sexes it seems to want to be.

Still, the cast has some of the best comedic chemistry of recent memory. Efron is proving himself to be a continual source of delight as he moves ever forward in his adult career; his former teen heartthrob status might still be in play, but that’s becoming less and less a driving force as he makes a name for himself as a cinematic comedian. He plays well off his pairing with Kendrick; the two of them share some of the funniest moments of the movie, in addition to sharing some of the more heart-warming and tender romantic beats. Devine and Plaza, meanwhile, play variations on the roles they’ve established in their sitcom careers. Devine goes from calm and collected to screaming maniac, as he often does on Workaholics, and it’s easy to see Plaza’s Tatiana as a darker incarnation of her Parks and Rec character, April.

It would be nice to see them all in a movie that didn’t try pandering to the lowest common denominator and with a script that wasn’t full of the kind of predictable scenes and moments that have become the staples of modern comedy. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates quickly becomes a sort of comedic bingo as it runs down the list of expected scenes and situations. Hapless losers trying to make good? Check. Drunken mishaps? Check. Bodily harm as a punchline? Check. Awkward white people participating in a hip-hop song and dance routine? Check and mate.

Despite its predictability and overall blandness, there are still more than a few laughs to be had with Mike and Dave. It’s not the funniest movie of the year by any means, but it’s still good for a bit of distraction if nothing else. I doubt it’ll ever become a classic, cult or otherwise, but it is what it is and for what it is, it could be worse.

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is now playing in theaters everywhere.

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