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Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates


Stars: Zac Efron, Anna Kendrick, Adam Devine, Aubrey Plaza, Stephen Root, Sam Richardson, Sugar Lyn Beard, Eugene Cordero, Lavell Crawford, Stephanie Faracy, Mary Holland, Marc Maron, Kumail Nanjiani, Bob Turton, Alice Wetterlund

Director: Jake Szymanski

Like it or not, the majority of movies (those without subtitles, that is) are made for paying audiences who expect to get their money’s worth from the experience.

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, whose storyline and often engagingly filthy dialogue delivered without subtitles, definitely belongs with the majority.

It’s essentially lewd, crude and unexpectedly good-natured and, to its credit, it never pretends to aspire to art, only to raising low laughs from the frequently disreputable antics of carousing brothers Adam Devine and Zac Effron who, invited to their sister’s wedding in Hawaii, are told by their father to each bring a respectable date rather than indulge in their usual drunken party-wrecking antics at family gatherings.

Neither lad has a current date and so they decide to advertise in Craig’s List for suitable companions to pose as their dates and ‘win’ a free trip to Hawaii as payment.

Result – an onrush of the good, the bad and the transvestite all hoping to a free holiday – before equally conniving waitresses Anna Kendrick and her friend Aubrey Plaza ‘win’ and accompany Devine and Efron for an escalating excess of crude comic capers and splendidly silly slapstick culminate in romantic catastrophe – and, of course, the expected happy ending.

Advertising for potential dates for a family affair? Surely simply a case of Hollywood creativity running wild?

Not so.

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, splendidly scripted by Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O’Brien, is based on the true story of Mike and Dave Stangle whose advertisement on Craig’s List delivered their required dates.

The story arc is obvious – a happy ending with everyone loving each other.

On the way there, director Jake Szymanski wrings out every possible laugh – loud, lewd, disgraceful and simply incredible stuff from his players and the gag-driven script which offers, in its audience friendly tsunami of low humour, social drug-taking and (15 certificate-friendly) nudity. Efron and Devine make an entertainingly feuding double act, Kendrick and Plaza are equally fun to watch and it says much for performances, narrative and direction that nobody and nothing are upstaged by stunning Hawaiian locations.

Comedy comes first and, as long as you don’t mind either the absence of intellectual subtexts and or artistic subtitles, Mike, Dave and everyone else involved deliver a fun film with no pretensions other than to raise plenty of lively low laughs.

Alan Frank

USA 2016. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox. Colour by deluxe.
98 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 3, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 2, Swearing 2.

Review date: 14 Aug 2016