‘Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates’ is a Raunchy Buddy Comedy at its Best

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox

Mike and Dave (Adam Devine and Zac Efron) aren’t just brothers, they’re also the best of friends. Always ready to have a good time, their antics tend to get them in trouble at any family gathering, leading to an ultimatum: they have to bring dates that will keep them in line to their sister’s (Sugar Lyn Beard) wedding, or they can’t come at all. Enter Tatiana and Alice (Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick) who just lost their jobs and are looking for a vacation. They might not be the “good girls” the guys are looking for, but they’re willing to fake it for an all expenses paid trip to Hawaii. They just have to lie to the guys long enough to get their vacation.

I’m going to admit that I fully expected to see this movie, despite the stellar casting, and walk away with a headache from a lot of eye rolling. Buddy comedies and raunchy romantic comedies either go very badly when they make it to the screen, or the audience can’t get enough. This one definitely falls into the latter category.

Efron and Devine have fantastic chemistry, as do Kendrick and Plaza. In fact, any configuration of these four work well together on screen and you’re not going to have a dull moment with any of them. It’s obvious that they all really went for it with any bit they were given to work with, and the sheer number of jokes that didn’t make it into the movie when they improvised scenes is likely astounding. (There are a few of these improvisations that run through the end credits, along with bloopers, so be sure to stick around for those.)

As a side note: Who knew Zac Efron could do a Liam Neeson impression? Because it’s great. I really didn’t know he had that in him.

20th Century Fox

I do wonder if when the movie was filming, or possibly even when the script was written, if they thought they might be going up against Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows at the box office. The movie released a few months earlier than Mike and Dave, but there’s a whole bit between Efron and Devine’s characters about the Turtles that had the audience giggling. Of course, there’s also some great references to Jurassic Park that the audience enjoyed even more. If you’re the kind of person who usually misses pop culture references, don’t worry, you can’t miss these.

Now, I will point out that with the destination wedding and the buddy comedy vibe going on, there are bound to be comparisons to Wedding Crashers. The writers anticipated that in full though as at least one of the characters looks to that movie for inspiration in one scene and another claims it amongst their favorites. It’s a nice nod and a wink to anyone who was ready to describe it as the new Wedding Crashers. Mike and Dave is more like Wedding Crashers, Bridesmaids, and The Hangover all got thrown into a blender and only their best parts blended together though. As the raunchy wedding events go, Mike and Dave might just have them all beat.

The only downsides might be that Kendrick and Plaza’s performances didn’t feel quite as strong as Efron and Devine. With Efron and Devine, you believe that they are these people. With Plaza and Kendrick, I felt like they knew they were in the middle of a comedy sketch and were waiting for it to be finished, which is a shame, because they both have such great comedic chops. This could just be down to editing wanting to showcase the guys more since their names are in the title though.

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that it’s probably impossible for anyone to see a movie with Efron, Devine, and Kendrick and not wonder if there’s a musical sequence at some point. While Plaza doesn’t have the same experience they do in the biggest musicals of the last decade (High School Musical and Pitch Perfect, respectively), she holds her own with the trio during a sequence that I won’t spoil for you.

One of the few comedies that is genuinely laugh-out-loud funny that I’ve seen this year, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates deserves a spot on your summer box office calendar. Just don’t take any kids to see it as it’s definitely earned that R rating.