The premise of Mike and Dave Need a Wedding Date is simple: The jackass Stangle Bros, Mike (Zac Efron) and Dave (Adam Devine) have a reputation for ruining parties with their loud, boisterous douchery, so their parents insist that they bring dates to their sister’s destination wedding in Hawaii. They put an ad on Craiglist, which invites the attention of Alice (Anna Kendrick) and Tatianna (Aubrey Plaza), who do a very poor job of pretending to be the “nice girls” that Mike and Dave need to bring to the wedding to satisfy their parents. The wedding weekend basically goes as you might expect: All their intentions are thwarted by bad instincts, alcohol, drugs, and terrible lesbian jokes; the wedding is ruined and with about 15 minutes left in the movie, they realize what awful, terrible people they are and attempt to repair the situation.
This is the kind of movie where — even if the reviews are poor — you think to yourself, “How bad can it be with that cast? I’ll go just to see them.” But here’s the thing about Mike and Dave Need a Wedding Date: The more you like Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, and Adam Devine, the more you are likely to hate Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. Especially where it concerns Kendrick and Plaza, there is nothing that you appreciate about them on display here. They are obnoxious, unlikable, selfish twits. It’s as if though director Jake Szymanski showed them a performance of an obnoxious person and asked them to caricature that obnoxiousness. I don’t know what they were doing with their voices in this movie, either, but it is horrific. Kendrick and Plaza use grating, exaggerated non-specific accents as though silly voices will make the flat, lame jokes funnier.
I don’t understand why Kendrick is in this. She has no shortage of projects, and I have no idea why she felt compelled to take what is essentially a terrible Anna Faris role in an unapologetically bro-y shit-show. Meanwhile, Aubrey Plaza has shed all of the goth-y sarcastic sensibilities most of us love about her. Here she plays an insufferable, scheming sorority-girl stereotype to Kendrick’s bubbly blonde stereotype. They are like an R-Rated Romy and Michele without any of the subversive humor that made those characters work. They are playing what are essentially the fuck-toy roles in American Pie movies, and Mike and Dave are the Stiflers.
Adam Devine, meanwhile, is unbearable. Where he can occasionally be funny in short, scene-stealing roles as a comic antagonist who we are supposed to find obnoxious, here he is the protagonist, someone with whom we’re eventually supposed to empathize. It doesn’t happen. It will never happen, because he never displays anything remotely close to human. Only Zac Efron, by occasionally not being as awful as everyone else in the film, manages to create something approximating a genuine moment here and there, but only relative to the rest of the contrived, one-dimensional performances.
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is terrible. It’s an irredeemable douchecom that’s never leavened by sweetness and that never betrays its idiocy with a wink to the audience. It never aspires to be more than a dumb, lazy, generic sex comedy, and at that, at least, it is very successful.