The problem with R-rated comedies is the best parts are usually absent from the theatrical trailer. In some cases, the studio will release a red band trailer to be seen online, but those are rare. If a movie plans to exercise the full use of its R rating, a lot of the best gags won’t be in the promos.
20th Century Fox’s Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is one of those films.
Any story about two careless brothers forced to take dates to their sister’s destination wedding is going to be filled with countless raunchy jokes. As we’ve learned through comedies over the years, weddings are the perfect canvas to paint comedy gold – internal family conflict, wacky family members, numerous zany characters, speeches, a love story, sex jokes, various destinations, and the flexibility to tell a touching story if needed.
Adam DeVine and Zac Efron star as Mike and Dave, two brothers who find a way to disrupt every family function. In an effort to end this ridiculous behavior, their parents insist they bring dates to their sister Jeanie’s (Sugar Lyn Beard) wedding.
The brothers get the bright idea to use Craigslist for dates by offering a free trip to Hawaii. Their ad goes viral landing them a spot on The Wendy Williams Show. Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) and Alice (Anna Kendrick) want a trip to Hawaii so they pretend to be “wholesome” girls and win over the boys and win the date.
All Mike and Dave have to do is make it through the weekend without any incidents.
To no surprise, Mike and Dave’s story is a formulaic wedding comedy. What makes the movie successful is its four leads, led by Plaza and DeVine’s hilarious performances. Plaza best scenes are when she’s tricking Mike into falling for her. DeVine does what he does best – be lovable, laughable, and crazy. The two of them together are great.
The four stars work well as a group and when they’re paired off. Plaza and Kendrick bounce jokes each other like they’ve been BFFs since middle school. Watching them fumble through their “good girl” act while trying to hide who they are leads to some of the film’s funnier moments. DeVine and Efron act more like frat brothers than siblings. They’re crazy ideas land them in some bad situations, most notably their rehearsal dinner speeches. It’s the same frat-laughs comedy that makes movies like Neighbors work, but performed at a very high level by DeVine and Efron.
Speaking of Efron, he dominates in another comedy. How many times does he have to do this before we get him his own comedy franchise?
One of the best characters is Cousin Terry played by the Alice Wetterlund who gives the film’s most entertaining performance. From talking in 3rd person to her constant name drops, Cousin Terry gets a laugh every time she’s onscreen.
Thankfully, there are plenty of sidesplitting laughs that didn’t make the trailer. The NSFW spa sequence, featuring Kumail Nanjiani, provides some of the biggest laughs. A lot of scenes are different from the trailer and there’s even a few alternate takes during the credits that are well worth watching.
Mike and Dave Need Weeding Dates is one of the best comedies of the year. It’s a fun comedy that has a little heart. There’s enough plot to keep the wedding narrative moving forward, but the plot’s thin enough so it never gets in the way of the humor. The four main leads are the engine that drives this film – they’re likable enough to keep audiences interested in their motivations. The lead’s onscreen chemistry and ability to play off each other keep the movie from being another mediocre wedding comedy. Let’s hope the next R-rated comedy can deliver the same amount of laughs.