Summer generally brings with it a handful of R-rated comedies that you just know snickering teens and tweens will want to sneak into. Add Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, which opens areawide on Friday, to the list. With its reliance on references to contemporary popular culture and gratuitous use of profanity, it's written to appeal to a young audience despite the R-rating.
But though both the male and female stars have great chemistry, the movie relies too heavily on crude humor as it self-consciously evokes superior predecessors such Wedding Crashers, which the characters even explicitly refer to at one point.
The flimsy premise is this: Brothers Michael (Adam DeVine) and David Stangle (Zac Efron), a couple of guys who suffer from serious cases of arrested development, tend to ruin family events by showing up solo, or "stag," as their father (Stephen Root) puts it. They drink too much and flirt with all the women, ultimately making a mess of things. Their parents possess the home videos that prove their point.
With the wedding of their daughter Jeanie (Stephanie Beard) on the horizon, the brothers' parents stage an intervention of sorts and beg the brothers to find dates so they won't "rile each other up." The brothers post an online ad that explains they need dates to accompany them on an all-expenses paid trip to Hawaii for the wedding. The ad predictably goes viral and the brothers begin the interview process.
Of course, plenty of gold-digging women (and a couple of prostitutes) apply to be their dates. The brothers can't believe how difficult it can be to find a few women who don't have ulterior motives. They've just about given up on finding suitable women when they run into Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) and Alice (Anna Kendrick), two party-hearty chicks pretending to be "nice girls." They sweep the guys off their feet with their good-girl act, and the foursome heads off to Hawaii.
While Tatiana and Alice do a credible job of conning family members into thinking that they're sweet and innocent, it's only a matter of time before they show how raunchy and rude they can be. When they start doing wheelies on a couple of all-terrain vehicles, Mike and Dave begin to think the women ain't so sheltered after all. Turns out, they're also heavy drinkers who like to experiment with drugs and have lewd senses of humor.
Things quickly spiral out of control and, in predictable fashion, Mike and Dave ultimately cause a huge scene at the rehearsal dinner. Their antics threaten to derail the entire wedding.
DeVine, Efron, Plaza and Kendrick each embrace their respective roles with enthusiasm. They really appear to have a blast doing it; stick around for the blooper reel at the end and you'll see them cracking each other up in the outtakes. Their camaraderie is infectious: At the screening we attended, audience members laughed out loud for most of the film. Even if the film doesn't break new ground, the talented cast does provide a few good laughs, making the movie a decent-enough diversion despite its shortcomings.