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MOVIE REVIEW: 'Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates'

Posted at 6:41 AM, Jul 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-08 12:02:12-04

Phil Villarreal's novel, Zeta Male, is available at Amazon.

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Forget about the title. Mike and Dave are just the sideshow. This is an Aubrey Plaza-Anna Kendrick gal pal comedy.

Think "Bridesmaids" and "Trainwreck" and you're on the right track. It's a sex-and-drinking comedy about a pair of party girls who are so hardcore that even a pair of dude-bros played by Zac Efron and Adam Devine can't hang. 

Based on a true story of a pair of knuckleheads who gained viral status by putting out a "Bachelor"-style casting call to bring a pair of girls as dates to a Hawaii wedding, director Jake Szymanski's film is at its best when it ignores the ludicrous setup to let the stars improv and splatter the screen with head-shaking awkwardness. 

This is a breakout film for Plaza, who abandons her eye-rolling, deadpan shtick to play Tatiana, a narcissistic party girl capable of out-Kardashianing any Instagram/Snapchat selfie model. Kendrick is something of a straight woman as Alice, who has been a heartbroken, self-medicating mess since she was stood up at the altar.

Deciding they both need an adventure to break them out of their shared rut, the roommates skip past Mike and Dave's contest premise and engineer an ill-advised meet-cute involving a traffic accident. Once the silly setup is out of the way, the laughs take off when the foursome heads off to Hawaii for some moped riding, wedding ruining and, gulp, sauna prostitution.

Much of the fun comes from Tatiana and Alice spoiling Mike and Dave's dopey visions of the girls being along for the ride as arm candy. The girls have other ideas, mainly involving day drinking while dangling the promise of sex in exchange for living out their wild impulses of Hawaiian hijinks.

Szymanski, who flexed his comedic muscles in the brilliant HBO mock-doc "7 Days in Hell," harnesses his excellent cast to deliver a steady stream of big-time laughs, and falters only when he tries to shift to emotional tones.

There's a sense of joy the cast and filmmakers had in making the movie, which pays off onscreen in steady belly laughs.

Some of the funniest moments in the movie come during the end-credits blooper reel, when some of the improvised lines are so funny and wild that they bring production to a halt. You get the feeling that there was probably enough left on the cutting room film for whole other movie, and that maybe some even better stuff happened off camera.  

RATING: 3 stars out of 4.