Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates
Fox // R // $39.99 // September 27, 2016
Review by Francis Rizzo III | posted October 11, 2016
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
E - M A I L
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R E V I E W S
Graphical Version
In 10 Words or Less
A goofy, raunchy comedy blessed with a fantastic cast


(Screenshots are not taken from this release.)

Reviewer's Bias*
Loves: Anna Kendrick, Kumail Nanjiani, goofy comedies
Likes: Adam DeVine, Aubrey Plaza, Alice Wetterlund
Dislikes: Frat humor
Hates: Wasted talent

The Movie
Did anyone see a single element of the promotion for Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates and not put it into a category with movies like Project X and other party-hard comedies? The only redeeming factor obvious at first glance were the names above the title, as Anna Kendrick and Adam DeVine were certain to bring their quirky likability and Aubrey Plaza would make things weird. (As for Zac Efron, well…he's never bothered me before, so I was more or less indifferent to his presence.) After watching the film though, the film is a surprisingly good time, thanks to a fun cast and over-the-top comedic beats.

Based on a true story, the film follows a pair of brothers, Dave (Efron) and Mike (DeVine), who are embarrassments to their family, thanks to their habit of getting out of hand at family get-togethers. As a condition of being allowed to attend the wedding of their sister Jeannie (Sugar Lyn Beard) they must bring dates, in the hopes that this will distract and sedate them. In order to obtain said dates, they turn to Craigslist, and soon their search goes viral, attracting any number of willing but unacceptable possibilities.

Then there's Tatiana (Plaza) and Alice (Kendrick), a pair of hot messes who see the guys as their ticket to a free Hawaiian vacation. Thus they enter full scam mode, pretending to be the nice girls Dave and Mike (or, more to the point, Dave and Mike's parents) are looking for. Unfortunately for them, their true nature is hard to contain, and it gets unleashed on the guys and their sister, threatening to ruin the wedding.

The film unfolds in a series of set pieces that make life hard for the family (but especially Jeannie), while a burgeoning connection between Dave and Alice, who is struggling to overcome heartbreak, slowly builds. It's the interaction between Mike and Tatiana however that makes the biggest impact, as Mike desperately tries to bed the aloof Tatiana, while Mike's bisexual cousin Terry (the hilarious Alice Wetterlund) offers competition for Tatiana's attention. Seemingly intended to give the film some heart to ground the wackier elements, the quieter moments between the guys and girls boil down mainly into connective tissue between the in-your-face moments, like a flying ATV assault or a remarkable nude scene involving drugs and horses. There's a lack of balance though between the plot and the comedy, leaving you waiting for the next big punchline to arrive.

Kendrick doesn't get much of a spotlight here, as the less aggressive half of the film's lead females, which was bound to happen when Plaza's character naturally dominates most any scene she's in. The chemistry between Efron and DeVine as brothers s wholly believable, though it's DeVine's 100-percent-at-all-times performance that powers every scene you'll remember, including one ridiculous spa sequence involving Wetterlund and Beard (who proves herself to be a very capable comedian, handling every over-the-top moment she's a part of with ease.)

Beyond the main cast, the film is stuffed with great cameos and supporting actors, like Stephen Root's angry father and Mary Holland's awful maid of honor, But when you can waste performers like Marc Maron, Jake Johnson, Nicole Byer and Eugene Cordero by barely having them in the movie, and still have a funny movie in the end, you're doing something right. It certainly doesn't hurt that the film features a performance by Kumail Nanjiani--playing a masseuse--that all but steals the film. Hilarious, and certainly profane, it's something you won't soon forget, and you certainly will never look at Nanjiani the same way.

The Discs
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates arrives on two discs (one Blu-ray, one DVD) in a standard-width, dual-hubbed Blu-ray keepcase, with a slipcover that repeats the cover art. The Blu-ray disc has an animated menu with options to watch the film, select scenes, adjust the setup and check out the extras. Audio options include English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1; English Descriptive 5.1; Spanish, French and Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital; and Russian DTS 5.1 tracks, while an insane 21 subtitles tracks are available, in English SDH, Spanish. French, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian and Ukrainian, along with commentary subtitles in English, Spanish, French, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Russian and Swedish.

The Quality
The 2.39:1, AVC-encoded 1080p transfer looks fantastic, with vibrant, yet appropriate color and a high level of fine detail (with the landscape shots in Hawaii giving the presentation plenty of elements to show off.) Black levels are consistently healthy, making the nighttime scenes look crisp, and there are no concerns about digital distractions. A consistently great-looking film.

The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track on this Blu-ray crafts an impressive soundstage, with an immersive mix that fills the sides and rear with atmospheric effects. Dialogue is nice and clear, and the film's music, which is made up in large part by energetic dance songs, is powerful and bouncy, helping create the film's aural tone. No complaints here.

The Extras
The extras kick off with a commentary by first-time feature-director Jake Szymanski, who makes an effort to point out how scenes came together (including moments of improv, the near-death of an actor and Kendrick's avid interest in Nazis) and how the film changed over the course of editing and from the original true story. The only problem is, he keeps getting interrupted by the sound engineer, Margie (who sort of sounds like Mary Holland, and has an unusual amount of info about the film's production.) A real shame.

The original cut of the film was over three hours long, so there was a lot of material excised, and a lot of it is in this set. A pile of 14 deleted scenes runs 23:48, and can be viewed individually or with a play-all option. There are a few moments here worth checking out, including a cringe-worthy scene between Mike and his soon-to-be brother-in-law and a scene involving the guys in wrestling singlets (for those who might be interested in such sights.) There's also 16 extended scenes (39:12). But nothing really stood out about these slightly different moments. Also changed during the course of the film was a character beat involving a roasted pig, which led to the removal of 7:45 of scenes found in the creatively-named "Alternate Storyline Pig Sequence".

As is often the case with a film with heavy improv, there are a great deal of alternate takes, which can be found split between "Bits on Bits on Bits" (6:21) and Line-O-Rama (10:02). For fans of Holland, Nanjiani, Wetterlund and Cordero, this is your first stop, since they weren't in the movie nearly enough, but add some good stuff here.

The "Gag Reel" (5:27) is your usual mix of screw-ups, goofing off and dancing, but with such a likable group of actors, it's funnier than most such extras. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the three Funny or Die shorts included. "Wedding Stories with the Cast" (2:10) has the actors sharing matrimonial anecdotes, but with a twist, "Adam DeVine Has Hypersensitive Ears" (1:42) explores the actor's little known hearing problem and "Zac Efron Can't Stop Taking Selfies" (2:47) looks at exactly what the title says. All are mildly amusing at best.

For more behind the scenes looks, a 40-image gallery, available with auto or manual viewing, features stills from the production. A few trailers wrap things up--one red band (2:25) and one not (2:22)--which show some different takes used to promote the film.

Sneak peeks for other films are available, while also in the package is a code to get the film on Ultraviolet or iTunes.

The Bottom Line
Despite the presence of a top-notch trio like Kendrick, Plaza and DeVine (as well as the quite-capable Efron), expectations were low coming into a low-brow comedy like this. Those expectations were definitely exceeded by some rather effective stupid comedy and an outstanding cast (both of which combined to overcome a somewhat pointless plot.) The presentation is excellent, and the extras, though not very informative, are certainly enjoyable and plentiful. If you're a fan of the talent involved, this film is worth a look.


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