Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates Review

Sex-based humor can be funny. Swear words can be funny. Plenty of films have made both of those elements hilarious. But context, timing and grounding such things in engaging characters are just a few of the crucial elements that can differentiate a "funny" joke from a painfully unfunny one. For Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates, there's surprisingly little to be found in the gross-out gags beyond just the gross-out content. This is the sort of movie that thinks the very sight of a vagina is inherently uproarious stuff, just to give you more context into what kind of humor this movie traffics in.

Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates is kind of sort of not really maybe if you squint a bit based on the true story of Mike (Adam Devine) and Dave (Zac Efron) trying to find dates for their sister's wedding. They put out an ad on CraigsList and it attracts the attention of Alice (Anna Kendrick) and Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza), who love the idea of a free vacation to Hawaii. The only problem is Mike and Dave specifically request classy nice girls and Alice and Tatiana don't quite the bill. So they create fake personas to win over the boys trust and the lies keep piling up from there as the four go to Hawaii for a wedding none of them will ever forget but the audience likely will in no time flat.

Having not seen the Pitch Perfect movies nor the Workaholics TV show, this is my first real exposure to Adam Devine, whose comedy stylings here seem to be a direct imitation of Will Ferrell, in that Devine constantly yells out lines of dialogue at random and over-exaggerates every facial expression or noise that comes out of his mouth. Ferrell can't make that schtick work 100% of the time himself and Devine's pale imitation of that kind of comedy just comes off as grating, like nails on a chalkboard. I can't even begin to count the amount of times in the movie that Devine just yelling some phrase is used as a substitute for an actual joke or gag, it's a recurring trait in the script that the movie bewilderingly thinks is way funnier than it actually is.

Zac Efron's character seems to have had his entire personality erased in an effort to clear the way for Adam Devine's character to be a scene-stealer, which is not only a bad idea because of how unfunny Devine's schtick is, but also because it leaves Efron with absolutely nothing to do for much of the movie. There's nothing going on with his character, he doesn't even get very many jokes to drop. The dates these two bring to the wedding fare a little better as characters, but only a tad. Tatiana starts out interesting but quickly fades away from the story after she has a Lesbian encounter in a steam room.

The only person in this movie who's really funny is Anna Kendrick, who plays Alice as an emotionally tortured person (Alice recently had her fiancee dump her at the altar) who covers up her trauma with an exterior built around exuberance and heavy-duty partying. Kendrick plays the part well and plays the only character in the movie whose actually fun or interesting to watch, likely because she's the only one who's got something going on from a character perspective. But even Kendrick's fun performance can't rise above a script that's borderline painful in how much it adheres to conventional storytelling tenants.

For instance, Tatiana and Mike end up falling for each other despite the fact that everything in the story up to that point suggests that they'd really just hate each other. But now they're both remorseful to each other because, well, there's only half an hour or so left in the movie and we gotta wrap this stuff up and get to the credits/blooper reel. There's an overabundance of stuff like that in the script, where various plot points just sort of happen even though there's no good reason in terms of characterization or humor for said story elements to occur. At least Hawaii (which is where most of the movie takes place) looks like a gorgeous place to visit, Maybe I should have just looked at pictures of Hawaii on my laptop instead of watching Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates.

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