There is no point comparing this film to the book or the real life events it’s based on. They’re all a good laugh but that’s where the similarities seem to end. Even the opening of the film admits that it’s only “sort of” based on true events.
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates – the movie – takes the premise of what happened to the irrepressible Stangle brothers in the USA, and goes its own way with a fair amount of liberty and success.
Mike and Dave Stangle were ‘encouraged’ to bring respectable dates to their sister’s wedding in the hope their usual poor behaviour would be stymied. For a laugh, they advertised on the internet, posting a detailed classified ad on the Craigslist website. The ad became an unexpected internet sensation resulting in television appearances (including with Australian media) and hundreds of female applicants.
The film whizzes through meeting a handful of bizarre applicants which don’t even come close to the wacko encounters they describe in their book, and culminates in two equally irresponsible women posing as their dream dates to get the gig.
Oddly, the film tells its story from the angle of both pairs, with Alice and Tatiana (Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza respectively) often taking centre stage over the Stangle brothers (Zac Efron as Dave and Adam DeVine as older brother Mike Stangle). Both duos have personal journeys to take and, in true Hollywood style, they find salvation in each other… after a lot of mayhem along the way. The result is that Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is not a Boy’s Own Adventure as one might expect.
The screenplay by Andrew Jay Cohen and Brendan O’Brien has many genuine laughs, enhanced by the comedic timing of Jake Szymanski’s great cast. While it’s disappointing that it spiralled its wonderful way down to romantic clichés in the end, it’s an adults-only theme park of misadventures until then.
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates doesn’t do the truth any justice as it’s a unique beast that presents it’s own exposé on the Stangle brothers. As an independent comedy that’s just borrowed the basic premise though, it’s a decent, sometimes dirty chuckle about two rascals with a heart.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Rating out of 10: 6
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates opens in cinemas on Thursday 7 July 2016.
- Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates official website
- Want more? Read our book review of Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates