It is a compliment to write that Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is every bit as crude, crass, and boyishly stupid as it looks. Remember, that’s all it’s trying to be. It wants to make you laugh with its immaturity and outrageousness, shock you with its zaniness, and gross you out with its unkempt nudity. I was happy to play along.
One imagines the pitch to stars Zac Efron, Adam Devine, Anna Kendrick, and Aubrey Plaza: Want to go to Hawaii for a few weeks, party, shoot a movie, go on an ATV ride, and enjoy paradise, all on the studio’s dime? Seems like a no-brainer, and thankfully director Jake Szymanski lets them improv to keep the vibe on set playful and fun — stay for the credit cookies and you’ll see what I mean.
The premise is simple: Idiot 20-something brothers Mike (Devine) and Dave (Efron) have a penchant for ruining family events with their alcohol-fueled antics, and their parents (Stephanie Faracy and Stephen Root) are tired of it. So for their sister Jeanie’s (Sugar Lyn Beard) Hawaiian wedding to Eric (Sam Richardson), Mike and Dave are told they must bring respectable dates. Smart girls with good values and real jobs, the kind who will be positive influences. So they do what any guy looking for the right girl would do: They post an ad on Craigslist, and it goes viral. After a series of terrible dates they meet Tatiana (Plaza) and Alice (Kendrick), who have neither values nor jobs. They are, however, smart enough to dupe the boys into thinking they’re good girls, all in the interest of a free trip to Hawaii.
Fun in the sun and hilarity ensue, and what’s interesting is that the comedy feels fresh even though the story goes through expected beats. An ATV ride takes them through the same valley in Oahu that was used in Jurassic Park, and accordingly the characters have fun recreating moments from the film. Jeanie gets a massage unlike any we’ve ever seen, and Tatiana does things for Rihanna tickets that are a surprise even for her. Being able to legitimately laugh at these scenes and many more is essential as the story progresses through the standard motions of 1. The guys screwing up the wedding, 2. The truth about the girls being revealed, 3. Dave and Alice falling for one another, etc.
Delightfully, this is sort of based on a true story. The real Mike and Dave Stangle posted an ad on Craigslist in February 2013 looking for dates to their cousin’s wedding, and because the ad went viral, it led to 15 minutes of fame for the brothers. Most of what occurs in the movie is fiction, but if the real Mike and Dave are anything at all like the Mike and Dave on screen, they’ll probably assert that the movie is 100 percent true.
Regardless, there’s something to be said for a film that just wants to make you laugh. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates makes you laugh. That’s good enough for me.