Directed by Jake Szymanski (7 Days in Hell) and starring Anna Kendrick, Zac Efron, Adam DeVine and Aubrey Plaza, based on the real life story of Mike and Dave Stangle with a history of causing chaos at family events, are told that they must bring dates to their sister’s wedding and place an ad online looking for nice girls to take to Hawaii, little do they know the girls they find aren’t quite as nice as they seem.
There’s no denying that all four of the film’s main actors can do comedy and each have had successful roles in both film and television to that point and it’s also a great combination to have all four of them together but the problem is it’s all just very amiable. Regardless, Kendrick does well despite having to wear such an awful unconvincing wig for the entire production and her chemistry with Plaza is fun to watch, DeVine and Efron are in the same boat, their rivalry and brotherhood is a stronger aspect of the film. The supporting characters do well, Veep’s Sam Richardson gets a few laughs even though he’s not really given that much to do, sister Jeannie (Sugar Lyn Beard) has slightly more screen time and again gets some good moments but still feels very much secondary. Alice Wetterlund as Cousin Terry is rather a cringe worthy addition that does very little for the story, it may be humorous to some but in the bigger picture they’re probably the most unnecessary moments of the film.
The most obvious problem the film has is that advertising these characters with such crazy behaviour and all manner of trouble and chaos means that the audience is left wanting because almost all of that is in the trailer and what’s left does not feel particularly raucous. Although the film does come across as funny a lot of the humour feels as though it’s falling flat, lacking big laughs and with timing that simply misses the beat. Most of the film doesn’t involve vulgar jokes so when it does veer into that territory it feels awkward and out of place. Those factors are in fact not particularly helped by the setting, the environment feels much too serene and calm to be appropriate for the theme the film is going for. Another problem is that there’s very little attempt to give these characters much of a back story or something for the audience to connect to, it’s very much thrown in quick and adding in a few details here and there later on, which contributes to the difficulty in landing the humour.
If you’ve seen 7 Days in Hell, it’s quite easy to see why this director may not have been able to get the most out of what he was given, moving from something so utterly ridiculous and over the top then trying to make a genuinely funny and entertaining comedy is not a realistic transition. Then there’s the writers Brendan O’Brien and Andrew Jay Cohen of Neighbours 1 and 2, who again just can’t quite hit the right note, despite the acting team being right for the film, the rest of the combination doesn’t quite fit. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is still a good watch and it had the best of intentions that just didn’t pan out, it’s likely to simply be one of those films that some people will find more funny than others.