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Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (2016)

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 9/27/2016

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Review by Mike Long, Posted on 9/28/2016

Many of us have heard of the German term "schadenfreude", which loosely translates to taking pleasure in witnessing the pain of others. (OK, between that word and "doppleganger", there is something weird happening with the German language.) My daughter experiences something similar, but different, which she refers to as "embarrassment by proxy". This occurs when you witness seeing someone awkward or clumsy and you feel so much empathy for them that you are embarrassed for them. I can't say that I had empathy for the cast of Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, but I certainly felt bad for them, as they were a part of this movie.

Brothers Mike (Zac Efron) and Dave Stangle (Adam Devine) are single, young, and fun. And they are also known for their wild and zany antics at any family event. However, when it's time for their sister Jeanie's (Sugar Lyn Beard) wedding, their father, Burt (Stephen Root), puts his foot down and tells the boys that they are not only going to behave at the gathering, but that they are going to bring respectful dates as well. Unaware of where to find nice girls, the brothers put an ad on Craigslist seeking decent young women who wouldn't mind accompanying them to a destination wedding in Hawaii. Their ad goes viral and they find themselves on The Wendy Williams Show, which is where out-of-work waitresses Alice (Anna Kendrick) and Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) see the guys and hatch a plan to snare them. Pretending to be a hedge-fund manager and a teacher, these sleazy girls pull off their scheme and soon find themselves on a dream vacation in Hawaii. But, how long will they be able to keep up their charade?

Wow! Hollywood certainly has cooked up another wacky premise with this movie, huh? Well, not so fast. The main premise of Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is actually based on a true story. The real-life Mike and Dave Stangle really did post an ad on Craigslist looking for wedding dates and it really did garner some media attention. It also got the attention of a friend who was a trainee at a talent agency and the brothers suddenly found themselves with a book and movie deal. Crazy, right? And in reality, they ended up taking two girls from their hometown to the wedding. Well, apparently the filmmakers behind this movie should have continued to follow the true story, as it sounds much more interesting than the movie which we got. Sure, the idea of two questionable guys who got rich from their insane idea isn't exactly inspiring, and I'm not a fan of watching people get rich off of being stupid, but it probably would have surpassed this movie.

Again, the movie diverges from the true story by sticking Mike and Dave with two crazy girls. Once they reach Hawaii, all sorts of madcap antics ensue, involving ATVs, masseuses, horses, and in-room movies. The producers clearly said, "Sure, their story is cute, but what the people want is a raunchy, sex movie." Do we? I know that I don't. Well, not this one at least. So, here's what we do get. No truly likeable characters, most notably Tatiana. I don't know what kind of accent Aubrey Plaza was attempting to pull off, but it was annoying. We get a series of nearly unrelated vignettes in which someone in the wedding party gets involved in some bizarre, and often unrealistic activity. We get Dinesh from Silicon Valley (actor Kumail Nanjiani) in the nude. Who wants to see that?

However, being misguided isn't Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates' biggest problem. No, there are two other biggies here. First of all, this raunchy sex comedy isn't very funny. I chuckled a few times, mostly at Adam Devine, but, overall the movie is trying so hard to be raucous and shocking that anything clever or truly amusing gets left behind. The other big issue gets back to our initial idea -- I felt bad for the cast of this movie. (Well, not for the fact that they got to hang out in Hawaii.) What is Oscar-nominee Anna Kendrick doing in something like this? Is Zac Efron so determined to shake his High School Musical past that he'll appear in any R-rated movie? Adam Devine has proven his chops in things which were much better than this. And Aubrey Plaza? She needs to stick to those low-energy roles which made her famous. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates stops just shy of being a trainwreck, but it is a needlessly tawdry movie which could have told a truly interesting true-life story.

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates wastes a perfectly good Jurassic Park tour on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 27 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no distracting grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look very good, most notably the greens, and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is good and the image shows off a nice amount of depth. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.5 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The party scenes provide nice subwoofer from the music and a good array of surround sound, as does the ATV scene. We also experience nice stereo separation, which draws attention to sounds coming from off-screen.

The Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Blu-ray Disc contains a handful of extras. We begin with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Director Jake Szymanski. The Disc contains fourteen DELETED SCENES which run about 24 minutes. This is followed by sixteen EXTENDED SCENES which run about 39 minutes. The take-away here is that this movie could have been longer. "Alternate Storyline Pig Sequence" (8 minutes) contains scenes from a subplot which was dropped from the movie. Oh, wait, it could have been even longer? "Bits on Bits on Bits" (6 minutes) is yet another reel of cut scenes. This must have been like the Gone With the Wind of bad comedies at one point. "Line-O-Rama" (10 minutes) offers a reel of alternate takes from various scenes. We get a 5-minute GAG REEL. "Funny or Die Shorts" (7 minutes) offers three videos which were made for the comedy website. The extras are rounded out by a still GALLERY and two THEATRICAL TRAILERS.

Review Copyright 2016 by Mike Long