Blu-ray Review: Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates

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Loosely inspired by a similar real-life situation, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates came and went largely unnoticed during mid-summer 2016. Though it scared up about $45 million domestically, the bawdy comedy practically screamed "wait for video." Now that it has arrived on Blu-ray (also 4K UltraHD) via 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, it just might find a wider audience. There are quite a few laughs, thanks mostly to the go-for-broke cast led by Zac Efron, Adam Devine, Aubrey Plaza, and Anna Kendrick. However, even at a relatively tight 99 minutes director Jake Szymanski loses focus as the simple story proceeds.

Brothers Mike (Devine) and Dave (Efron) are the screw-ups of the Stangle family. They generally mean well, but they manage to wreak havoc on any and all family-oriented event they attend. With little sister Jeanie (Sugar Lyn Beard) getting married, their parents mandate that the brothers bring respectable dates to the ceremony. Who knows why anyone believes the presence of dates will keep Mike and Dave any calmer than usual, but that's the premise upon which the entire film hangs. Perpetually single, Mike and Dave begin auditioning prospective "dates" to accompany them to Jeanie's Hawaiian wedding. Naturally an all-expense paid trip to Hawaii strikes a chord and, after appearing on The Wendy Williams Show to unveil their plan, the whole thing goes viral. 
mike and dave zac efron.jpg Enter hot messes Tatiana (Plaza) and Alice (Kendrick). When they're not high, they're drunk—even at work. Alice was recently ditched at the altar by a runaway groom. After catching the Stangle's pitching their offer on TV, they conspire to fool the boys into believing they're "respectable as f*ck." They make up back stories for themselves (which they can barely keep straight) and convince Mike and Dave they're exactly the right gals for the big wedding. The loose, improvisational tone provides a backdrop for the cast to riff, often hilariously. Alice Wetterlund steals every scenes she's in as the Stangle's bisexual Cousin Terry. Sam Richardson has numerous winning moments as Jeanie's befuddled fiance Eric.

The problem with the story (and this requires a spoiler alert, so consider yourself warned) is that Mike and Dave aren't to blame for the near-collapse of the wedding plans. They've done almost everything they can to ensure they're making a good impression. Their parents didn't care who they brought with them, just as long as they weren't going stag. And as uncouth as they are, Tatiana and Alice can't be blamed for what happens between Jeanie and Eric either. By the time Jeanie is flying high on ecstasy, parading around naked in front of her brother, and confessing to Eric that she finds him "boring," it's clear this marriage might need to be reconsidered. In the interest of providing a rather forced "happy ending," director Szymanski allows Mike and Dave to shoulder the brunt of the blame for another disaster. They didn't deserve it and it leaves a bad taste as the film concludes. 
rsz_mike_and_dave_bd.jpgFox's Blu-ray looks every bit as sharp, well-balanced, and vividly colorful as a Hawaiian-set comedic romp should. Matthew Clark's digital cinematography captures the sun-baked textures of Hawaii and I can't imagine anyone being disappointed by the visual presentation here. The DTS-HD MA 7.1 surround mix is buoyant and full-bodied, especially during action-based sequences like the four-wheeler stunt sequence and anything involving fighting, fireworks, or galloping horses. 

mike and dave aubrey plaza.jpg There's a lot of deleted material included in the bonus features. So much, in fact, that it makes one wonder if the screenplay (by Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O'Brien) needed to be tighter. Perhaps the actors were given too much free reign to improvise. There are over 20 minutes of deleted scenes, over a half-hour of extended scenes, a ten-minute "Line-o-Rama" montage, a five-minute gag reel, and an entire deleted subplot sequence ("Alternate Storyline Pig Sequence"). Six more minutes of outtake material is found in "Bits on Bits on Bits." Even for those who enjoy Mike and Dave, this is all a bit overkill. But there are some funny bits (and it's interesting to see the "Pig" storyline, which was definitely an ill fit and wisely excised). The disc also contains several Funny or Die shorts and a director's commentary track.

"Funny but inconsistent" is a simple but accurate way to summarize the unambitious, good-natured comedy that is Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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