You are cordially invited to the comedy event of the year! In order to avoid embarrassing their family, hard-partying brothers Mike (Adam Devine) and Dave (Zac Efron) place an online ad to find "respectable" dates for their sister's Hawaiian wedding. Instead, the boys find themselves out-hustled by an uncontrollable duo (Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza). Based on hilarious true events, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is the perfect marriage of over-the-top humor and outrageous fun!
I'm usually not one to gravitate to this type of R-rated "raunchy" comedy, but 'Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates' has the participation of one of my favorite young actors, Anna Kendrick, and it had a relatively strong theatrical trailer, so I was willing to give it a shot. Sadly, Kendrick is underused here and – as is the case with many trailers – the biggest laughs had already been revealed.
The movie is very loosely based on a real-life incident where a pair of brothers needed dates for a wedding, posted the request online, and then wound up on 'The Today Show' after the posting went viral. This movie substitutes 'The Today Show' with 'The Wendy Williams Show', but retains the name of the real-life brothers, Mike and Dave Stangle, played here by Adam Devine and Zac Efron, respectively. The reason the brothers are asked to get dates – at least in this fictionalized account – is because they have a history of ruining other parties and get-togethers, and the boys' father (played by Stephen Root) believes a couple of well-mannered girls will keep his sons in line.
But once the boys post their request on Craigslist, women everywhere (and at least one cross-dressing guy) see it as a chance for a free vacation (Mike and Dave's sister is tying the knot in Hawaii), so they go through a bunch of meet and greets with gals who are even more shallow than Mike and Dave seem to be. Gal pals Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) and Alice (Anna Kendrick) have just been fired from their waitressing jobs and see Mike and Dave on TV during their 'Wendy Williams' appearance. Like the other women Mike and Dave have run into so far, they're just looking for a free trip to Hawaii as well, but Tatiana plans for her and Alice to pose as a couple of respectable young girls in order to win over the boys – starting with her faking getting hit with a car so Mike can 'save' her.
The ruse works, and Mike and Dave pick Tatiana and Alice to be their wedding dates, with Tatiana pretending to be a school teacher and Alice claiming to be in hedge funds. Normally in a movie such as this, the girls would need to stay in character most of the time, but Mike and Dave aren't the sharpest knifes in the drawer, so even when one of the gals does something rude, offensive, or more in her nature, the guys aren't bright enough to pick up on the fact that they're not who they claim to be.
I think the biggest problem with the movie is that there's not enough of a clash between the personalities of the two boys versus the personalities of the two girls. It might have been more interesting if one of the two pairs were a little more straight-laced, but since all four of them are unappealing in their own ways (although Anna's character comes off as a little more sympathetic, since Alice has been dumped at the altar), it's hard as a viewer to really care about any of them. The real surprise in the film is actress Sugar Lyn Beard, who plays Mike and Dave's sister, Jeanie. That's mostly because she's given an arc in the movie that other characters don't have – she starts off as a rather mousy, straight-laced bride-to-be and winds up (thanks in large part to a rather wild erotic massage sequence that might be the funniest scene in the film) embracing her sexuality and womanhood.
'Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates' is a raunchy comedy that isn't quite raunchy enough. Watching the film, you almost feel the creators were afraid of getting too taboo with the subject material, although it's the moments in the movie that aren't afraid to be un-P.C. (politically correct) that stay with you the most (like that massage sequence I already mentioned). It's far from the worst movie I've seen in this genre, but there's just not enough craziness or laughs in its 99-minute run time to give it a recommendation.
The Blu-Ray: Vital Disc Stats
'Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates' ties the knot with this Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD combo pack. The 50GB Blu-ray and dual-layer DVD are housed inside an eco-friendly Elite keepcase along with an insert with a code for a digital copy of the movie. A slipcover with artwork matching that of the keepcase slides overtop. There are no front-loaded trailers on the DVD, but the Blu-ray is front loaded with an ad for Fox's Digital HD movies, plus trailers for 'Why Him?' and Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie. The main menu (identical on both discs) features a montage of footage from the movie, with menu selections running horizontally across the center lower quarter of the screen.
Although the back of the box cover indicates the Blu-ray is Region A only, the disc actually region-free.
'Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates' was shot completely on location in Hawaii using both Arri Alexa and Red Dragon digital equipment. It is presented on home video in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio. The Blu-ray transfer provides a pleasant, detailed image, and about what one would expect from a recently released, shot-on-digital comedy.
As potential viewers may have already guessed, the image here shines the most when the filmmakers shoot outside in the lavish Hawaiian environment. There's a scene in the movie where the characters go ATV riding in the same location where Jurassic Park was shot, and the lushness of the landscape is really stunning to view in 1080p. High-def "pop" is evident in other sequences as well, and the various colors of the outfits the characters wear in the film come off as really vibrant and distinct.
For a movie shot in Hawaii, there are a surprising number of scenes that either take place at night or in dimly-lit rooms. Thankfully, black levels are nicely strong here, and crush is never much of an issue. Noise isn't a problem either, and I detected no issues with banding or aliasing. While I didn't give this a reference-quality score, it's a strong presentation with no major gliches.
The featured track here is a 7.1 English DTS-HD Master Audio one, which is about what one would expect for a mainstream comedy movie. The range of the audio is noticeable during the numerous background songs playing during the film, the most enjoyable of which is when the main characters give a wedding reception performance at the end of the movie and you can both hear and feel the 'thump' of the bass and LFE. But the audio does a nice job with quieter, more distinct moments as well. Just listen to the clarity of alcohol 'glugging' into a glass in the opening moments of the movie and you'll get an idea pretty quickly of how crisp, clear, and distinct the sound on this track can be. While dialogue is primarily front and center, the actors voices are clear throughout. And while the presentation never feels fully immersive, there are a number of crowd scenes in the film that make one feel as if they are in the middle of the action. This is a well-rendered track, of which I have no real complaints.
In addition to the 7.1 lossless track, 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks are available in Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Russian, as well as a 5.1 English Descriptive Audio track. Subtitles are an option in English SDH, Spanish, French, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, and Ukrainian. Subtitles for the Director's Commentary track are also available in English, Spanish, French, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Russian, and Swedish.
'Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates' presents a good idea for a raunchy comedy that never seems to take full advantage of its premise. Almost all of the actors here are likeable in one way or the other, but it's almost as if the filmmakers were afraid of letting their characters get too outrageous or go too far over the line. The result is a middling movie with a few good laughs, but not likely something you'll want to view more than a single time. Rent it.