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'Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates' is crass, crude and funny


July 15, 2016

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    The premise of Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates relies on an antiquated view of gender roles: At the request of their father (Stephen Root), Mike and Dave Stangle (Adam Devine and Zac Efron, respectively), are tasked with bringing dates to their sister’s destination wedding in Hawaii so they won’t be tempted to rile each other up and ruin the whole affair. In the Craigslist ad the Stangle brothers post to find respectable women, the words “date” and “nice girl” might as well be interchangeable with “babysitter” or “caretaker.”
    Luckily for the audience, Mike and Dave are hoodwinked into bringing Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) and Alice (Anna Kendrick), two girls who are just as raunchy, foul-mouthed and rowdy as their male counterparts. 
    After uncovering that his date’s “nice girl” persona was just a ruse, Devine’s character complains about how they were just supposed to be nice girls and do what they say, but for that to happen, a lesser movie would had have to been made: a movie where all the vulgar jokes and gut-busting gags were given solely for the male leads to deliver.  This isn’t to diminish Efron’s and DeVine’s contributions at all; instead, it ups the ante.
    Efron and DeVine are great, both at giving dumbfounded reactions to their unexpected dates and at contributing to the mayhem themselves. In turn, Plaza and Kendrick make an excellent team, playing a disorderly, drug-loving duo whose pursuit of a good time transforms a relatively peaceful wedding into a weekend full of absurdity and madcap adventures. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates easily could have been titled Tatiana and Alice Go to a Wedding; neither title would be misleading. 
    The film doubles down on the laughs by allowing both duos to deliver a relentless stream of filthy jokes, some of them clearly improvisational. Like most comedies, not every joke in the film lands, but the ones that do are an absolute riot. 
With a solid, enthusiastic cast and an above-average hit-or-miss joke ratio, the vacation-comedy easily overcomes its thin plot and its very literal, one-note premise. 


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