Oh… oh god, did I not want to see this flick. This looked exactly like a traditional comedy formula: stupid characters making stupid decisions getting other stupid people in trouble. Can’t believe I paid money for this. Your assumptions for my initial impressions are probably right. No, I’m not a particular fan of Zac Efron. I’m sure he’s a nice guy and is a ton of fun to hang with, and I’m sure he’s a fine enough actor, he’s proven that before, but… fuck, he’s type-cast like Megan Fox: every movie needs him to be eye candy for the ladies instead of portraying a character that has, you know, character. It’s hard to have an opinion of Adam Devine because I’ve only ever seen him in the Pitch Perfect movies, which he was not my favorite character or actor. Really though, I was not holding high hopes for his performance. About the only interesting thing worth noting was the inclusion of both Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza. Kendrick’s a hit or miss for me. For every UP IN THE AIR, there’s a TWILIGHT on her resume. What’s not in question is her singing and acting talent, but that doesn’t always translate to a good movie. And, like anyone familiar with Plaza, I adored her in the TV show PARKS AND REC. Without much effort, she can be hilarious. However, her film transition hasn’t been good. Her last notable appearance being in one of my least favorite films of the year, DIRTY GRANDPA. At the very least, I want the ladies to dominate the film. Kendrick isn’t playing her usual straight-woman role, which may be refreshing, but who knows? So, do Mike and Dave deserve their wedding dates, or should they stay sad and alone? This is my honest opinion of MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES.
Brothers Mike (Adam Devine) and Dave (Zac Efron) Stangle are good-natured, but have a nasty reputation for partying too hard at the parties and causing damage and injury while drunk and hooking up with random . However, their little sister Jeanie (Sugar Lyn Beard) is getting married soon in Hawaii, and if they want to remain invited to the wedding, they have to not only be on their best behavior, but have to being wedding dates. But not just any girl, like their usual floozies, they have to bring nice girls. Cue down-on-their-luck roommates Alice (Anna Kendrick) and Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza). Alice was about to get married once, but her husband left her at the altar, which prompted her to start drinking heavily. At first, this suited Tatiana just fine, as she’s a hard party girl too, but because of Alice’s behavior, they’ve barely been able to hold down a job long enough to do anything fun. Back to Mike and Dave, they release a Craiglist ad saying how they need dates, which goes viral and eventually gets media coverage. Alice and Tatiana see them on TV and Tatiana gets an idea: get these guys to invite them to Hawaii so the two girls can have a real adventure somewhere nice. They give themselves make-overs to appear respectable, meet up with the guys, and successfully get invited. But upon arrival, things get a tad chaotic as Alice and Dave maybe start to have a spark, and Tatiana is trying to keep Mike from getting too hot and heavy around her, as well as the girls not being very good at being “nice girls,” and slowly, but surly their plans become unraveled.
It almost pains me to say it, but… I’ve been Paddington’d. What does that mean? I made it up, but the definition: when you think a movie is going to be god-awful turns out to be pretty enjoyable. Well… sort of. Yes, I was pleasantly surprised by this movie, but… it’s still not good per se.
Just like in the Pitch Perfect movies, Devine annoyed the shit out of me. In my opinion, he was not funny in this movie. Mike is written to be this over-the-top loser and somehow, his cartoonish facial expressions are supposed to amount to comedy. This doesn’t work because he’s literally the only character that does that whereas everyone plays their characters pretty straight given the circumstances. I really hope this isn’t all that Devine will be offered in his career, and equally hoping that he doesn’t strictly accept roles like this.
Now for the character of Alice, while Kendrick is serviceable in the role, which I will get into later, there is a lot that this movie is expecting me to buy with her character. I get it, her fiance broke her heart by leaving her at the altar. That’d mess anyone up. So I get that she would smoke pot or drink heavily, but this movie has no idea how to write her. Here’s what I mean, the basic idea behind Alice and Tatiana is that they’re bad girls, foul-mouthed, wild and crazy, but have to act like nice girls. Here’s the problem, the movie doesn’t follow through with that when it comes to Alice. She’s clearly a nice girl that does what would be considered “bad” things. Taking drugs, complaining about how hard it is to be a nice girl, but… if she’s such a bad girl, why is she still watching the recorded wedding video of her man leaving her at the altar? Bad girls wouldn’t be watching that over and over and being depressed over it. Never mind that a “bad girl” wouldn’t get married to what appeared to be a reasonably normal guy (you know, minus the leaving her part), bad girls would be shouting, “Fuck you, dude!” and owning their inebriation while dancing on those tables. They most certainly wouldn’t second guess manipulating a couple of idiot guys into taking them on a vacation to Hawaii, and they certainly wouldn’t be emotionally invested in a wedding while simultaneously finding romance with the bride’s attractive brother. Her character arch feels incredibly forced and not earned thanks in large part to her inconsistency of personality.
The same absolutely goes for Tatiana, which is the cardinal sin of the flick. At the end of the movie, she reveals that she is secretly afraid that if Alice gets over her fiance that this will lead to Tatiana being not needed anymore, obviously implicating that she’d lose her only friend. Look, Plaza can act. I know this. If you told me she could act with the big dogs of Hollywood, I’d believe you, and again, I’ll get into that later, but… when did this internal struggle become a thing in the story… or with her character for that matter? At every turn, we see her trying to get Alice over the break-up. Hell, the plot of the movie practically kicks off because she wants her over that guy. So why the hell in the last fifteen minutes of the movie are we now learning that she’s afraid of losing her only friend? When did we ever get the impression that she was even alone in this world? The tragedy is that Tatiana could have saved this movie in a lot of ways. If there was a scene where Tatiana happens upon Alice and Dave talking and she sees how Alice is happy and enjoying herself, while smiling but still having this sense of vulnerability, her admission of losing the only person she has in her life could have been a truly heart-breaking scene and carried significant weight. But that’s all ruined because this movie is more concerned about nonsensical slapstick, uncomfortable not-sex scenes, and absurd drug trip-outs. This had potential to give the movie some serious heart, but it utterly fails.
I don’t want to keep going on all the things I didn’t agree with because there were a few things that I did like.
I’ve been building up to me talking about Kendrick and Plaza, so let’s dive into that. Essentially, I got my wish. I wanted the ladies to dominate the screen and they most certainly did. They were bar-none the funniest in the movie. Despite her character’s inconsistencies, it was amusing to see Kendrick play a wild a crazy character and be so good at it. But Plaza practically made this movie for me. Shyeah, how’s that for inconsistent? I droned on and on about how her character was sorely mishandled, which it was, but beyond that, Plaza was as a whole, the most engaging in the movie. She had the funniest lines, the best reactions, the best moments out of anyone in the core cast. Her role may not be much of a stretch as far as her talent is concerned, but much like how Brad Pitt made a career off of playing himself and owning it, Plaza does the same here. She owns the role of Tatiana she was worth the price of admission alone.
I’ve grown comfortable with saying that I’m not much of an Efron fan, but similar to Plaza, he was also one of the better written characters. For once, we don’t see him out of his shirt being eye candy for girls everywhere and pretending that his abs are his personality. Dave actually does have the best arch in the movie. It’s clear that Dave was supposed to be the smartest of the brothers, but because he’s so attached to his clingy older brother, he’s never allowed himself to realize his full potential and become a graphic novel artist, in which he has mad talent for. But slowly over the course of the movie (granted, in random intervals), he does start to see that he is allowing Mike to hold him back and he’s learning that he does want more out of his life, despite how hurt Mike may end up. Dave actually learns something and wants to be better than when the story started off.
And despite not being Devine’s biggest fan, I can’t deny that he and Efron work really well off of each other. I buy these two being brothers and have occasionally gotten a laugh out of me. They share solid chemistry, which made them enjoyable to watch and that counts big time in my book, especially in comedies.
It’s nothing particularly special, but I won’t say it’s all bad. It’s enjoyable enough, I suppose. I’m sure I’ll be in the minority of movie-goers who didn’t love this movie or think it was overly funny, but it had the right kind of performances and just enough laughs for me to think that my money wasn’t wasted.
My honest rating: 3/5
- THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS