Mike and Dave need a better movie. This is a joke that requires almost no thought to throw together, much like the film it is lampooning for laughs (and by laughs I mean brief chuckles and text replies such as “LOL”), but that doesn’t mean it is incorrect in the truth it hopes to reveal. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is the laziest comedy to arrive in theaters since Dirty Grandpa delivered slop-bucket yuks back in January, and it just so happens to star two of that flick’s three leads (Zac Efron and Aubrey Plaza). If you’re looking for quality entertainment there is none to be found here, but if bottom of the barrel gags make you feel thirteen again I suppose you might as well read on.
Meeting Mike (Adam DeVine) and Dave (Zac Efron) Stangle is like watching an unnecessary sequel to a film you never saw. The first time audiences see the Stangle brothers they are trying to convince a bartender played by Marc Maron to stock a particular kind of tequila by lazily disguising Dave as a customer with specific demands. It’s a joke that falls flat with a hard thud, but it does succeed in preparing viewers for the style of unpredictable and often nonsensical comedy that the story will leverage throughout the film. There is no explanation for why Mike and Dave have resorted to this strange ploy in order to cement a sale, nor is there any real explanation for why these two grown men behave like 12-year-olds. This is simply how they are, and accepting this fact is key to finding enjoyment in their latest exploits.
Not long into the film, the Stangles’ only sister, Jeanie, announces that she is getting married in Hawaii. This announcement comes with a request that Mike and Dave bring dates because, as a montage of incidents played for the whole family reveals, the pair has a history of ruining otherwise fantastic nights. Mike and Dave initially take a slight offense to the request because they believe they are never the cause of the problems that seem to follow them, but they begrudgingly agree to Jeanie’s request. The only problem is, neither Mike or Dave know where to find the kind of “good girls” their family wants them to meet, which leads the brothers to turn to Craigslist in search of the perfect wedding dates.
Alice (Anna Kendrick) and Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) are two New Yorkers whose love of alcohol and trouble follows them everywhere they go. They are, for lack of a better phrase, bad girls who own every bit of their rude and profane behavior. When Tatiana learns of the Stangles’ search for love, which comes with an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii, she convinces Alice to help her convince Mike and Dave that they are the good girls the brothers need. Their ruse goes off without a hitch, and soon the foursome embark on their trip with Mike and Dave having no idea what true deviants their dates actually are.
The only real question to be answered by Mike and Dave needing wedding dates is whether audiences prefer the comical exploits of two dumb guys or two dumb girls. The combined intelligence of Mike, Dave, Alice, and Tatiana is equal to that of one high school freshman with average grades, and their idea of fun matches that of a high school student as well. All four love to drink, dance, and reference social media, but what separates them is their understanding of what is actually happening in their relationships. Mike and Dave believe they may have found true love, but Alice and Tatiana are focused solely on making the most of their free vacation to Hawaii. While the guys try to keep it simple, the girls are always pushing for adventure, and when their desire to explore the island’s many offerings are given the green light, trouble almost always follows in their wake. When those moments occur—and unfortunately they happen far too rarely—the film briefly comes to life with original ideas.
While I am certain it will make for a decent watch on Netflix while viewers are distracted by social media, snacks, or whatever it is people do while streaming movies they would never pay to see in a theater, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is destined to be remembered as a weak point in the careers of everyone involved. It is as basic as a sex comedy can be, and its few moments of originality are too juvenile to garner much merit. If you never see this movie your life will not suffer in the slightest, but if you do, you run the risk of walking away with a feeling you might be just a bit dumber than you were before the film began. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates could have been great—and for a moment or two I thought it might somehow salvage itself—but ultimately the film is nothing more than another excuse to see Aubrey Plaza be a bad girl and watch Zac Efron take his shirt off. Both of those things are fun in their own way, but neither one can make this movie worth recommending to anyone over the age of sixteen.