The Wedding Ruiners – Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (2016)

Falls on its face.  So this is about of a pair of manchild brothers (Adam DeVine, Zac Efron) who really need to grow up.  It has reached the point where they have ruined so many family events with drunken antics/hitting on girls that it is mandatory that they bring dates to their sister’s wedding in Hawaii.  They’re not bright bulbs, so they advertise it on Craigslist.  A pair of girls (Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza) size them up for the easy marks that they are.  This didn’t strike me as my sort of affair based on how it was sold to me, but when this started off, it actually surprised me.  It seemed reasonably grounded in reality, and Stephen Root really sold it as the dad, telling these guys that this family has had enough and they are in desperate need to get their lives together.  It starts off as a pleasant surprise… and then about at the midpoint, it turned into exactly what I was afraid that this would be when I first saw trailers for this.

2These guys are just about as bro-y as you can imagine.

Now I’ve personally never been a fan of Adam Devine’s material; he just comes off as annoying and trying too hard in practically everything I’ve seen him in.  That said, I am a fan of Efron, Kendrick and Plaza, so I did legitimately want to give this a chance.  On paper, it does seem like they’re pulling an Adam Sandler, using the movie as an excuse for everybody to have an all-expense paid vacation that they can write off on their taxes, but the chemistry between everybody does work, at least on the front end of this.  It’s not cracking up funny, but I was getting my share of laughs at the absurdity of these characters.  I also thought it was humorous that this is the whitest of white man problems: you party so much that you have to find dates that can restrain you.  It was when this movie reached the spa when it hit a serious turning point for me, because then it got to this really gross massage scene that you’ve probably already seen in the trailers, and that is when it switches gears to largely gross out humor, which I’m not a huge fan of.

1I would typically put a photo as an example up here, showing what I meant by the spa scene, but I don’t feel like reliving it.

After that scene was done (which goes on for an exorbitant amount of time), I was ready for it to wrap up, but that scene comes at about the halfway point.  These are actors that are decent at improvising, and you can tell how much is improvised when you get to the end-credit blooper reel.  All of the improv turns stale, also right around the halfway point.  This movie pulled a really difficult accomplishment for me in that it really won me over when I wasn’t expecting to be by it, but then it lost me just as quickly.  If the first half was switched with the second half I might have ended up feeling more positively about this, but because I walked away with a bad taste in my mouth, I have to deduct points accordingly.

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (2016) **

– Critic for Hire

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