“Mike and Dave” is a hilarious match made in hell
Dating can be a precarious situation. Sometimes all two brothers want is just to meet two nice girls to take to their sister’s wedding in Hawaii, two girls both sister and mother would approve of. Hell, sometimes they’ll even pay for the girls to join them, all in an effort to impressed said family. So how do two Millennials go about meeting such classy dates? The Internet, of course. Because what could possibly go wrong with soliciting a date for a free trip to paradise on Craigslist?
Everything. Literally everything.
Welcome to “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates,” the most hilarious, offensive and obscenity-laced comedy since “The Hangover.” Loosely based on a true story, “Mike and Dave” recreates a tale of two brothers, Mike and Dave Stangle (Adam Devine and Zac Efron, respectively), who are faced with an ultimatum from both their parents and sister: If the liquor-selling brothers want to join the rest of the Stangle family for sister Jeanie’s (Sugar Lyn Beard) wedding, they need to shape up and find nice girls to take as dates. The idea is that some classy feminine companionship will mitigate the damage the hard-partying brothers will inflict. (A quick home movie shows that while the guys are an absolutely blast at any get-together, it’s clear you don’t want to be the one responsible for their mess the next day.)
The idea is noble in its intent, if a bit misplaced. It’s clear that the brothers feed off each other’s manic energy, generally resulting in fires or emergency room trips. They’re the definition of fraternity party boys, causing general mayhem simply by entering the room. (It doesn’t hurt that Efron and Devine have the most awkward yet workable comedic chemistry. Devine is the funnier of the two, but Efron plays the sweet guy act with a practiced ease. It makes for some strange yet humorous situations.) But upon hearing their baby sister’s plea for moderation, the brothers acquiesce.
And so the hunt begins for two of the classiest women you can find on Craigslist. The required montage of horrifying first dates is crude and quickly paced, having far too much fun with stereotypes that run the gamut. It’s only afterwards, though, once the brothers realize that anyone who would answer such a Craigslist ad probably isn’t someone who’d want to share a hotel room is, do they meet the film’s other two major characters: best friends Alice (Anna Kendrick) and Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza), a pair of basic losers who want nothing more than to cash in on a free vacation.
The pair, donning their Sunday best and fake smiles, worm their way into being chosen as the brothers’ dates. Once in Hawaii, the ridiculous nonsense begins in earnest. All the girls want to do is get drunk, get high, eat food and watch porn, but they can’t because they’re expected to participate in the getaway’s events. You can see the conundrum, especially when you consider the women’s true personalities in contrast with their deceptive personas.
Plaza’s Tatiana is shamelessly unlikeable. Her personality is refreshingly repugnant, bringing to mind Cameron Diaz in “Bad Teacher.” Yeah, a few endearing qualities eventually claw their way to the surface by the film’s end, but hey don’t change the fact that she’s out for No. 1, everyone else be damned.
On the flip side of that, we have Kendrick’s Alice, an adorable loser with a penchant for creating outrageously unbelievable lies that seem to keep suckering the gullible Dave. She has a good heart, but she’s too concerned with her own problems to care about anyone else’s. She’s also a bit of an idiot, but so is everyone else here.
When it comes to the Devine and Efron’s characters, there’s really not much to say. They clearly revel in being obnoxious and crass, doing whatever feels right at the moment with no thought to consequence. Again, it’s clear that they both have good intentions, but they tend to be in the center of the storm every time, if you will.
In the end, “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” isn’t going to be the next “Wedding Crashers,” but you’re going to laugh regardless. The raunchy, over-the-top comedy is the golden egg here, overwhelming any other positive attribute. (The Hawaiian set pieces are quite gorgeous, and the soundtrack choices are spot on.) But that’s what you’re here for, right? To see two brothers, legendarily known for causing mayhem, being outshone by two girls who haven’t said a truthful statement since they meet the brothers and put them to shame with their debauchery? Gender equality at its finest.
Four “This is why you never use Craigslist” stars out of five.