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|Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates|
dir Jake Szymanski
scr Andrew Jay Cohen, Brendan O'Brien
prd Peter Chernin, Jonathan Levine, Jenno Topping
with Zac Efron, Adam Devine, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Stephen Root, Stephanie Faracy, Sugar Lyn Beard, Sam Richardson, Alice Wetterlund, Mary Holland, Kumail Nanjiani, Lavell Crawford
release US 8.Jul.16, UK 10.Aug.16
16/US Fox 1h38
Brothers in arms: Devina and Efron
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
There's a real sense that the cast and crew of this comedy had a great time making what they thought was a naughty, rude romp, loosely based on a true story. Sadly, none of their enthusiasm is infectious. The film is neither funny nor sexy, with simplistic characters, obvious jokes and an pre-teen attitude toward romance. At least the actors and the setting are beautiful.
Mike and Dave (Devine and Efron) are such party boys that their parents (Root and Faracy) insist that they bring dates to the wedding of their sister (Beard) in Hawaii. The brothers post an ad on Craigslist that goes viral, attracting the attention of Tatiana and Alice (Plaza and Kendrick), slackers who feel like they need a holiday. Pretending to be a teacher and a hedge fund manager, the girls win over Mike and Dave. Unsurprisingly, a series of madcap misadventures follows, including encounters with a bisexual cousin (Wetterlund) and a naked masseur (Nanjiani).
Basically, the film is a series of messy set-pieces held together by a very thin plot about four young people who are refusing to admit that they need to grow up. This might have worked if the humour had some teeth, but every scene is written to take the most obvious, banal path to a sweet moral message. There are plenty of chaotic detours, but director Szymanski never brings it together, merely pointing the camera at the gifted players and hoping sparks ignite.
It's clear that there was a lot of joviality on-set, and the actors' chemistry has possibility. Efron and Kendrick make a great couple, as charm ricochets between them, tempered by the actors' attempts to add rough edges to the characters. Devine and Plaza have the goofier roles, with silly innuendo and wide-eyed slapstick. But the only relationship that feels real is the girls' friendship. Perhaps the problem is that all four are loveable losers played by wildly successful Hollywood stars.
As the wacky climax approaches, the script strains mightily to stir up both gloopy sentimentality and happy endings for everyone. But nothing is even remotely grounded in real life. These boys are mischievous, the girls seem desperate, and no one has even a hint of authentic sexuality about them, despite a relentless barrage of semi-smutty humour. In other words, the filmmakers are playing it safe while pretending to be nasty.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2016 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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