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In retrospect, Mike and Dave Stangle's real-life decision to drunkenly seek out dates for their cousin's wedding on Craigslist now looks like a stroke of genius.
Not only did the ad go viral and make them "Internet famous", but they elongated it and various other tales of debauchery into a book, which has now been adapted into a genuinely entertaining and consistently funny feature film. Not bad for a couple of fools whose reckless reputations had beforehand become so blighted that they'd been told by the bride that bringing dates was "mandatory" so that they wouldn't "harass" all of her friends and would "stay under control."
But this rambunctiousness is actually why Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates works so well, because most millennials have found themselves lost and looking for direction. And if they say that they aren't, they're either lying or born rich. But mostly lying. While these themes aren't explored in any depth or with any originality, the fact that they're present means that the film built around Mike and Dave never loses steam. In fact, it gets funnier as it progresses, as the characters unsentimentally open up, providing a different avenue for hilarity that, at the same, time is juxtaposed with some outrageous yet hilarious scenes.
But before it delivers, Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates gets off to a rocky start. In fact, before it gets to Hawaii, you're left concerned that not only will Zac Efron and Adam DeVine fail to generate laughs as a twosome, but somehow the film will make both Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick annoying.
Zac Efron and Adam DeVine play Dave and Mike Stangle, respectively, the loveable but irresponsible siblings that are told by their sister Jeanie (Stephanie Beard) that they need to bring dates to her wedding in Hawaii in order to be kept in check.
Somehow more outrageous than the Stangles, best friends Alicia (Anna Kendrick) and Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) pretend to be civilized and respectable in order to win their affection, a ploy that works as they manipulate the pair into taking them on the trip. But after initially impressing the rest of the Stangle family in Hawaii, things start to unravel as they inadvertently reveal their true selves to the brothers, and their actions have some far-reaching repercussions.
Unlike the hugely disappointing Central Intelligence from earlier this summer, Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates doesn't try to mess with its formula, and having cast its characters well, they give the actors the room and material to bounce off each other. After proving himself as a sturdy comedic foil opposite Seth Rogen in both Neighbors films, Zac Efron does the same just as impressively for Adam DeVine, whose attempts to compete with and match his obviously more impressive younger brother are hilarious.
While Efron and Anna Kendrick's Alicia actually grow closer and connect, Adam DeVine is repeatedly, yet slyly rebuffed by Aubrey Plaza's Tatiana, and this growing resentment reaches a head of steam with two overtly sexual scenes featuring his sister and then his cousin in very intimate scenarios that come straight after each other. The latter of which also features a stunning cameo from Silicon Valley's Kumail Nanjiani, too.
Watching Adam DeVine become more and more incensed and self-deprecating drives Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates on, and the Workaholics actor delivers the film's heartiest laughs in what will hopefully be his breakout role. The funny isn't just brought my DeVine, though. Because, after initially coming across as genuinely grating in their introductions, mostly because of their use of accents, which take some getting used to, Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick play off of each other delightfully as they cause most of the havoc of the film. Sometimes of their own volition but also by inciting the brothers, which even leads one of them to hit their sister in the face with an ATV.
As you'd expect, Plaza is dry and confrontational, while Anna Kendrick's innate sweetness can't help but shine through as her character looks to overcome being ditched at the altar. All four of the leading characters are also given tiny arcs about growing up and living in reality, which allow their arrogant, cocky exteriors to melt away and reveal a more vulnerable and relatable interior.
They're not substantial, but they allow Mike And Dave to unfold in an admittedly predictable but still pleasing and well-rounded fashion. Sure it's not quite as memorable or quotable as The Wedding Crashers or the similarly Hawaii set Forgetting Sarah Marshall. But Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates builds well, ultimately gets the best out of its cast, and delivers enough laughs to be more than worthwhile, if just a little bit forgettable.