The wed­ding car crash­ers

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM REVIEWS - DON­ALD CLARKE

MIKE AND DAVE NEED WED­DING DATES Di­rected by Jake Szy­man­ski. Star­ring Zac Efron, Anna Ken­drick, Adam DeVine, Aubrey Plaza, Stephen Root. 16 cert, gen re­lease, 98 min

If there’s any­thing worse than a com­edy that’s never re­motely funny it’s a com­edy that is con­stantly within a hairs­breadth of be­com­ing funny. I of­fer you Mike and Dave Blah, Blah, Blah as ev­i­dence.

It must take some do­ing to re­strain this cast from gen­er­at­ing laughs, but, in his de­but feature, Jake Szy­man­ski has man­aged just that. They’re nearly there. Oh do you feel that? It’s com­ing on strong. Do you feel that, baby? You’re just on the brink, but you can’t quite get to the point. Maybe if we just do a lit­tle of this…

And so on. Anna Ken­drick and Aubrey Plaza, two of our best comic ac­tors, are pit­ted against Zac Efron and Adam DeVine, nei­ther of whom is a slouch, in end­less im­pro­vised du­els of the sort par­o­died above. At least I hope they’re im­pro­vised. If some­body ac­tu­ally wrote this dia­logue down they should con­sider a ca­reer out­side the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try. No cliché is left un­ex­plored in the search for lum­ber­ing set-pieces. We get one of those weary­ing in­ter­view se­quences in which var­i­ous sup­port­ing play­ers get to cre­ate dif­fer­ent un­funny weirdos to the ir­ri­ta­tion of the leads.

The film-mak­ers are so des­per­ate they re­sort to an al­legedly com­i­cal drug se­quence. It is to the ac­tors’ great credit that these hope­less episodes come so close to be­ing funny so of­ten.

What’s it about? It hardly seems pos­si­ble, but this hack­neyed bro-and-sis romp claims to be based on a true story. The boys play two (lit­eral) broth­ers who ad­ver­tise for dates to their sis­ter’s wed­ding. The girls use mi­nor sub­terfuge to se­cure their spots. What? You might as well base a film on your ex­pe­ri­ences queu­ing for stamps or var­nish­ing the gar­den gate. Go away. You have no rea­son to ex­ist.

Sib­ling rev­elry: Adam DeVine and Zac Efron

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