Mike & Dave Need a Few More Jokes

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Zac Efron sure is prolific. His fourth feature in less than 12 months, Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates is a decent laugher for an hour as the titular brothers and their dates fumble through life. Once they bail on each other, subsequently bond with one another, and then band together to rescue a flailing wedding, the laughs takes a veritable backseat to the inevitable cliches. For a good sixty minutes, Mike & Dave is a damn good comedy.

Mike (Adam Devine) and Dave (Efron) are twenty-something liquor salesmen, running from bar to bar tricking bar owners into buying the latest and greatest the two bros can get their tricksy hands on. Despite the apparent success, their lives run on pot fumes and a potty-mouthed zest for life that includes making and breaking and sometimes destroying family gatherings with drunken antics and dastardly fireworks. That’s when Mom and Dad and newly betrothed sister come calling to make sure these two numskulls don’t ruin the big wedding in Hawaii. They demand the brothers bring a couple of nice girls in tow to keep them in line for the weekend. So what do they do? They put up an ad. In walk bad girls Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza to take advantage and the rest is just as crazy. Devine’s OTT  energy plays well next to Efron’s straighter but no less funnier ethos of immaturity. Ditto Aubrey and Anna, two loud and proud ladies with a penchant for drinking whiskey and dropping ecstasy. These couples have more in common than they realize.

They’re both perfect teams until the perfect storm of struggles rears its head and everybody is at odds even when everything is pretty okay all things considered. It’s a sitcom conflict in a feature film setting, awkward sexual misunderstandings n’ all. Misplaced drugs and manic depictions of eastern medicine and homosexuality play a part in undermining any semblance of comic intelligence the film may have displayed for those sixty minutes. Unpredictably, however, the groom and bride-to-be are not cast aside as they play victim to the contrived consequences of their younger brethren’s behavior. Sugar Lyn Beard and Sam Richardson are front and center among these shenanigans, and they absolutely deliver on creating characters that are more than mere archetypes of boredom. Sugar Lyn in particular runs with her arc of sexual and spiritual liberation, rendering this mousy-voiced would-be wife not as an uptight stereotype but as a woman who has simply never had the opportunity to spread her wings. Until now, of course.

Mike & Dave’s dumb narrative tropes are saved by one laugh-a-minute first half, likable leads, and a surprisingly exuberant supporting cast. You’ll have a grand time for a while before wondering why every wedding comedy must always go through the same annoying motions over and over again. Fortunately it doesn’t matter too much when you’re in such good company. Kind of like a real wedding.

Grade: B- 

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