Monday, 22 August 2016

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (2016)

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The Dateful Four

Director: Jake Szymanski
Running Time: 98 Minutes
Starring: Zac Efron, Anna Kendrick, Adam DeVine, Aubrey Plaza, Stephen Root, Stephanie Faracy, Sugar Lyn Beard, Sam Richardson, Alice Wetterlund, Kumail Nanjiani

Brothers Mike (Zac Efron) and Dave (Adam DeVine) Stangle see themselves as the life of the party at family gatherings, but actually are the cause of trouble at said gatherings. With their sisters wedding approaching, their parents tell them to bring dates to stay out of trouble. After placing an online ad, they find who they assume to be the perfect dates, in Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) and Alice (Anna Kendrick). However, they find themselves outsmarted and outpartied by the uncontrollable duo.

On the basis of the picture, it's difficult to believe screenwriters Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O'Brien delivered more than a skeletal outline of the plot. There's nothing wrong with actors improvising their lines, Zac Efron & Seth Rogen used it to great effect in this year's Bad Neighbours 2. But in regards to this films humour, it often feels as though the first attempt was thrown in, as opposed to the moment which works the best.

One gets the sense that the filmmakers believed in ratcheting up the strange to deliver comedy gold, without an idea as to what would work. The result is a case of throwing everything at the wall, in hopes to see what will stick. In spite of two people being hired for editing, the bloated runtime given to the gags give the impression that Lee Haxall and Jonathan Schwartz were lax in their work.

The performers at least do a good job in their roles. Anna Kendrick sells her "bride jilted at the altar" character, sharing sweet chemistry with the effortlessly charming Zac Efron. On their own and together, they prove far more effective than Adam DeVine and Aubrey Plaza, both of whom threaten to veer into unlikable territory. What saves the two is DeVine and Efron's brotherly relationship, as well as Plaza's friendship with Kendrick.

In spite of the title, Wedding Dates are far from the biggest need here. A decent script, tighter editing and actual jokes are necessary here, and prevent the talented ensemble from elevating the tepid Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.


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