Zac Efron’s a changed man. We definitely knew it after the disastrous Dirty Grandpa and we were reminded again after the surprisingly lol-inducing Bad Neighbours 2; he ain’t no High School (Musical)-er anymore. Ok, his vocal chords do get a work out in Jake Szymanski swear-filled wedding lark, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, but Efron’s now a fully-fledged comedic leading man.
Co-starring Pitch Perfect duo Adam Devine and Anna Kendrick along with Parks and Recreation alumni Aubrey Plaza, think Step Brothers meets Wedding Crashers, just with more abs. The title is pretty self-explanatory: Mike (Devine) and Dave (Efron) Stangle need dates to attend their sister Jeanie’s (Sugar Lyn Beard) wedding in Hawaii. The Stangle bros. have a deserved reputation at family gatherings for ruining the party with their drunken antics; something the family are keen to put in check ahead of the impending nuptials.
Their nationwide quest to bag a couple of ‘nice’ and ‘respectful’ girls sees the pair – self-employed liquor dealers by trade, naturally – land the scheming besties Alice (Kendrick) and Tatiana (Plaza). The pair, recently sacked waitresses who are looking for a free holiday getaway, turn out to be far from the respectable company the two boys were hoping for.
It’s funny that Efron and Devine make a gag about Wedding Crashers; in terms of raucous wedding comedies, the Wilson-Vaughn mash-up is the epitome of silly modern day matrimonial flicks from whose shadow Mike and Dave can’t escape. A perfectly serviceable, though spectacularly unmemorable, comedic outing, Szymanski’s wild and zany r-rated flick has enough stupidity and cinematically acceptable levels of vulgar to keep us mildly entertained, though never in a tears-down-face-through-laughing state.
With a talented young-ish cast with well-groomed funny bones – and an in-consistent, but certainly not un-talented, Efron – there was plenty of potential to play with. Yet the humour base, limited to the usual staple of drink, drugs and dicks, wears out relatively quickly, as the comedic cast struggled to maintain an increasingly limp line of gags.
Culminating in an utterly predictable, but never boring, finale of music numbers and relationship climaxes, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates gets Efron a passing grade in his quest to rule the mediocre expletive-laden laddish comedy market. It’s certainly a whole load better than Dirty Grandpa, but then, what isn’t!?!