I had a rare experience at Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. I thought it should be grosser.
I expected the bro-comedy to be full of material that would make my face turn red - either from embarrassment or giggles or both. But even its big comedic moments - often hinging on situations that should induce red face - don't go nearly as far as they could.
The movie is more a series of loosely tied together scenes than a full-fledged movie. It wants to be Wedding Crashers, but it's not nearly as memorable, smart, or sweet.
In a way, I'm glad that I don't have to watch Mike and Dave's two extremely talented female stars, Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect) and Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation), debase themselves too badly. But they're so game, and so great, that it's a shame they don't get to push the limits of their comedic personas.
Adam DeVine (Workaholics) and Zac Efron, on the other hand, are used to debasing themselves on-screen. They play Mike and Dave, respectively, two brothers - based on real-life guys - who are required to find wedding dates to their younger sister's Hawaiian nuptials because they have a history of bad behavior at family gatherings (as seen in flashbacks).
Enter Tatiana (Plaza) and Alice (Kendrick), two equally debaucherous women who decide to put on a good-girl facade in order to get themselves a free vacation.
Chaos, of course, ensues as Mike and Dave figure out that their wedding lady friends aren't the sweethearts they pretend to be.
The upside? Kendrick and Plaza get to be just as stupid as DeVine and Efron. There's no gendered division that says the men in the movie have the monopoly on being idiotic and, therefore, funny. And the entire cast is totally willing and able to do the ridiculous things they are called upon to do.
The downside? These characters are not stupid enough. Mike and Dave never really feels like it has any momentum. Instead, it relies on frat boy humor for a cheap laugh. It has its moments, but they don't have much staying power.