Directed by Jake Szymanski
Written by Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O’Brien
Starring: Zac Efron, Adam DeVine, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Stephen Root, and Stephanie Beard
“Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” is a modern romantic comedy – what is more modern than a movie about two guys who acquire dates to their sister’s wedding through Craig’s List? Well, it tries to be modern, and it is more comedy than a romantic comedy.
What happened with “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” is that it tried to be about more than the romantic relationships and more about the personal relationships. The movie tries to highlight these personal relationships, but it treats them as disposable, as something that is there only to be there. They are brought into the movie when it needs depth. These personal relationships needed to be the core of the movie, they needed to be the thing that drove the movie.
Had the movie focused on those personal relationships then it would have been a modern romantic comedy. Romantic comedies focus on romantic relationships, the primary romantic relationship in the planned was the sister and her fiancé, which is a tertiary relationship. “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” needed to develop further and explore these more intimate relationships more than it did. The movie needed to focus on aspects such as what happened to Anna Kendrick’s character and how that affects her relationship with Aubrey Plaza, Plaza’s insecurities, and how the two brothers drift apart and come back together. Instead, these things are shoehorned in to put some meat on the bones of this otherwise scrawny movie.
Fortunately – or unfortunately – “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” is more of a comedy than a romantic comedy. As a comedy it is rather weak, standard introduces an unknown variable into a precisely planned event, and hilarity ensues type comedy. The good news is that the cast is great. Efron, DeVine, Kendrick, and Plaza are all immensely talented comedic actors, especially Kendrick and DeVine, who both have an incredible sense of timing and enough quirk and wit about them to make something like this work. The bad news is that the movie just misses the landing with many of the jokes. Although, there are laughs to be had throughout the film.
Overall, “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” is not a bad movie, it is enjoyable enough. Maybe that is just my very pro-Anna Kendrick bias talking – I wish Anna Kendrick were my wedding date when I needed one for my brother’s wedding.