Film - Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates

Nate McKenzie may need to buy a hat as he watches Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates...

I can be as guilty as anyone of dismissing shallow movies without giving credit to the things they have done well.

The sort-of-based-on-a-true-story movie Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is not a great comedy. It is formulaic and not very daring. Even the scenes that are meant to make you gasp or groan with intrigued disgust landed about as well as Mike on a four-wheeler.

That doesn't mean it wasn't funny. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is a bro-comedy; it isn't trying to be a high-brow Wes Anderson discourse on subtlety and nuance. Big dumb jokes, overacted physical comedy, and movie references abound. That is what I paid to see.

I didn't find Step Brothers particularly funny (the intake of oxygen from the gasps I get when I say that among a crowd of people lowers the O2 level so drastically it makes it possible to float like in space). But a lot of people love that movie and quote it over and over. I appreciate what it is, but it didn't really grab me the way it grabbed other people.

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates will be, for others, as Step Brothers was for me. If you don't laugh, that's OK, just don't expect more from it than it's meant to give.

What I have a problem with is deconstructing a simple movie looking for something that wasn't intended to be there in the first place. That's like choosing the kiddie pool then complaining that the water doesn't go above your ankles.

The problems I did have with the movie are (mostly) menial: Aubrey Plaza's weird street-tough accent was distracting. Zac Efron trying to match Adam Devine's histrionics was out of place. The "heart of the film" moments where the characters all have serious revelations about themselves was unnecessary, as it is in most rom-coms. Much of the dialogue is quite clever but meandering, a placeholder between jokes, rarely ushering the narrative anywhere. One-liner stand-up is hard enough to accomplish; making a movie out of one-liners is pretty much impossible.

The major issue I have is that the movie felt unfinished, like it was slapped together at the last minute. Much more could have been gleaned with a little more attention to detail and better editing.

Still, I laughed. A lot.

Anna Kendrick was, as always, enjoyable to watch and to view in her subtle physical jokes. Plaza is hilarious and deadpan. Although Efron and Devine are the centerpieces for the film they are not the centerpieces of the comedy. The women, from Kendrick and Plaza to Alice Wetterlund and Sugar Lyn Beard, were the water-bearers for the jokes in this movie.

Devine and Efron delivered what their roles demanded of them, but they were more a vessel for the comedy than the engine that made it go. With the two, though, I see the potential for a filmmaking tag-team in the vain of what we've seen with Nick Frost and Simon Pegg or James Franco and Seth Rogan. I just hope their next effort is more Shaun of the Dead than The Interview.

Image - IMDb

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