An excellent cast goes a long way. Take Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates for instance. This is decidedly lowbrow material, full of unnecessary sight gags, crude humor and nudity, but the cast is fantastic. Bachelor brothers Mike (Adam Devine) and Dave Stangle (Zac Efron) are implored to bring classy wedding dates to their sister Jeanie's (Sugar Lyn Beard) big day, in order to avoid their typical drunken, frat-house antics. Their appeal to two "classy girls" goes viral, and wild friends Alice (Anna Kendrick) and Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) answer the call to score a free trip to Hawaii. Once there, the girls prove as unhinged as their wedding dates, and Jeanie's relationship with straight-laced Eric (Sam Richardson) is put in jeopardy. This Jake Szymanski-directed comedy is often very stupid, but it is frequently hilarious, too, thanks in large part to the four leads. Plaza is a standout here, and her nonstop sass and deadpan humor elevates the material.
The opening credits roll over a montage of Mike and Dave's previous wedding antics, which involve a lot of alcohol, sex with bridesmaids and destruction. The brothers' dad (Stephen Root) blames Mike for most of the behavior, but tells both of his sons that they will not ruin their sister's wedding if they want to survive another year. He begs them to bring wedding dates and act respectably, so Mike and Dave post a video to find the right women. They "audition" a number of suitors, but instantly fall for Alice and Tatiana, who are anything but nice and wholesome. Tatiana strong-arms Alice into going on the trip, and neither has any intention of sleeping with Mike or Dave. Once in Hawaii, Alice cannot stop replaying a video of her own botched wedding, and Tatiana refuses to attend any of the carefully planned events. Mike and Dave find themselves duped by their dates, and try to wrangle them in to avoid capsizing the weekend.
The film gives its leads plenty of time to get into trouble. The brothers' lesbian cousin (Alice Wetterlund) aggressively comes onto Tatiana, and Alice orders a very inappropriate massage for Jeanie before offering her ecstasy. An ATV accident leaves the bride-to-be looking less than beautiful, and Mike and Dave begin fighting over their own insecurities. There are some surprisingly authentic moments between the brothers, and Efron and Devine feel like kin despite looking nothing alike. Efron's Dave is less overtly funny than Devine's Mike, but both actors have decent comedic timing. Kendrick gets a bit lost in the shuffle, but is certainly funny in a number of scenes. Plaza is the real star here, and makes the decision to play Tatiana as brash and sarcastic as possible, to quite humorous results.
The film occasionally wades into humor that is more crude than funny, and it is obvious that the director shuffled some scenes around to keep the laughs coming. No one will confuse this drama for something original or weighty, but it works as an easygoing comedy. You can see some of the improvising done on set in the Blu-ray's bonus features, and a few even funnier ad-libs never made it into the final cut. The film's greatest asset is the cast, and these four likeable leads play well together. It will not be winning any awards, but Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates pairs well with the weekend and booze.
The 2.39:1/1080p/AVC-encoded image is bright, crisp and colorful, with good fine-object detail and clear wide shots. The digitally shot film offers some gorgeous Hawaiian scenery, bold colors that never bleed, and accurate skin tones. Black levels are decent for a digital production, though there is some slight motion blur during nighttime pans. Contrast and sharpness are both good, and I noticed no major problems with this transfer.
A 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix may be overkill for a comedy, but it is a nice presentation with ample directional dialogue and plenty of immersive effects. Crowd and environmental noise surrounds the viewer, and pratfall effects pan the surrounds. The pop-music soundtrack is appropriately layered amid the effects and dialogue, and the entire mix is lively and nicely balanced. Spanish, French and Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital dubs are included, as are a host of subtitle options.
PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:
This two-disc combo pack includes the Blu-ray, a DVD copy and a code to redeem for an UltraViolet or iTunes digital copy. The discs are packed into an eco-case that is wrapped in a slipcover. Extras include an Audio Commentary by Director Jake Szymanski; Deleted Scenes (23:48/HD); Extended Scenes (39:12/HD); an Alternate Storyline (7:45/HD) involving a roasted pig; Bits on Bits, a series of improvs; Line-O-Rama (10:02/HD); a Gag Reel (5:27/HD); Funny or Die Shorts (6:40/HD); an Art Gallery (HD); the Green Band Trailer (2:22/HD) and Red Band Trailer (2:25/HD); and some bonus trailers.
Sure, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is crude and fairly stupid, but it is also quite funny thanks to its four leads, Adam Devine, Zac Efron, Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza. This comedy features at least enough laughs to make it Recommended.