Wedding season is in full swing and depending on your age and how popular you are there's a real chance that five or six of your eight summer weekends this year could be spent witnessing other people's happiness and mush-love peacockery.
Or it might not be that bad — weddings are hit and miss but around here there's usually at least some really decent scenery and solid displays of public alcoholism and/or inappropriate hijinks. Few things cement the emotional bond between two lovers like watching your closest friends and family channel their inner Dr. Gonzo for four to 14 hours and climaxing with a round of competitive naked hot-tubbing at 6 a.m. in a public venue. Or the caterers having to wake your in-laws on a dock and ask for the blanket they made from a tablecloth back.
Antics like that, and worse, are the sails through which comedic winds blow in Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, a new raunch-comedy opening this week at the irreplaceable Village 8 Cinemas.
The setup is brilliant in its simplicity: two shit-disturbing, hard-partying (and sometimes unlucky) brothers (played by Zac Efron and Adam Devine) so consistently bring mayhem and disaster to family gatherings that their parents force them to get dates if they want to attend their kid sister's wedding in Hawaii. The thinking is a couple of nice girls will help keep the boys' savage tendencies at bay. After a Craigslist ad goes viral, the brothers end up with two professional, classy dates (Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza), or do they...?
Much of the fun in Mike and Dave comes from the fact that the female characters are as well developed, and more hardcore, than the dudes. Kendrick (Up in the Air), and especially Plaza (Safety Not Guaranteed), bring the perfect mix of chaos, confidence and gender parity to help elevate this one beyond Hangover-style gross-out dude comedy. I've long praised Efron as more than the easy Hollywood pretty-boy archetype and he delivers again, but in this one Efron is the third or fourth funniest player and the joy comes from watching the girls out-bullshit the bullshitters.
While it occasionally feels like a collection of funny scenes rather than a super cohesive story, the script is mostly strong and mines humour from action, details and dialogue. Mike and Dave also clocks in at a trim 98 minutes and most of that is full of real fun, well-earned laughs and even a bit of heart. It's good summer viewing and if not more fun than most weddings, it will at least give you some ideas.
The download of the week has nothing to do with weddings but everything to do with brotherhood. The Resurrection of Jake the Snake is a doc about legendary pro wrestler Jake the Snake Roberts' fall from grace (abused as a child, he turned to drugs and alcohol after retiring) and the love and dedication of friend/peer Diamond Dallas Page, who helps Jake get back on top — and back in the ring. This one is better if you remember watching WWF in the '80s but the emotions hit for anyone. It's like a true version of The Wrestler.
Back in the theatres and also opening this week, The Secret Life of Pets is an animated flick about what our pets do after we leave them alone, which sounds a lot like Toy Story but with animals. Regardless, the trailer I saw was as appealing as cleaning the cat box with a dessert fork. Early word from everyone else in Movieland, however, is that this one is not as bad as it could've been.
Created by the team behind the Despicable Me franchise, this one boasts a super strong voice cast including Louis C.K., Kevin Hart, Dana Carvey, Bobby Moynihan, and Lake Bell. By all accounts it is a frantic barrage of colour and ADD pacing that, theoretically, mirrors the thought process of the furry stars of the flick. I'm sure the target audience four-year-olds will eat it up like loose dogs in a weiner factory, but everyone else might leave feeling like they've stepped in something.
Happy wedding season.