A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is a raunchy buddy comedy that isn't appropriate for younger teens, despite the fact that it stars Zac Efron (as well as Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, and Adam Devine). Hard partying -- i.e. drinking and drug use (particuarly Ecstasy) -- figures prominently in the plot, and three of the four leads enjoy their liquor excessively, frequently, and proudly (and even the fourth is hardly a teetotaler). There’s also some nudity, mostly from the side (i.e. no genitalia, though naked backsides are on full display, and some scenes show characters in sexual positions), as well as a "happy ending" massage, scenes of implied masturbation, and lots of frank talk about sex/sex acts. Language is strong and frequent, too, including "s--t," "f--k," "ass," and more. The movie does have themes about the importance of loyalty and family, but they're pretty buried by all the over-the-top content.
What's the story?
In MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES, Mike (Adam Devine) and Dave (Zac Efron) are the Stangle brothers, liquor wholesalers known for their tall tales, crazy shenanigans, and general destructiveness -- all in the pursuit of a good time, but often to detrimental ends. As a result, their parents have put them on notice: At their younger sister's upcoming wedding in Hawaii, they are to behave impeccably and arrive with dates who are "nice girls" and won't let them get out of hand. Enter Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) and Alice (Anna Kendrick), two recently fired waitresses (they danced on tables while drunk) who are determined to answer Mike and Dave's online call for dates. Alice is also recovering from being jilted at the altar. But the ladies aren't interested in making a good impression; they just want a free vacation, at any cost.
Is it any good?
This movie trades on the charm of its four leads but doesn't deliver on its promise. The jokes in Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates are stale, the set-up sexist (supposedly mitigated by the understanding that the women are acting the way they are because they’re "empowered," but, really?), and the story an unoriginal mash-up of other, better comedies (it’s Wedding Crashers meets Neighbors meets Bridesmaids meets every other buddy comedy). So thank goodness for the stars, who are at least likable enough to elicit a few laughs -- that is, when they don't all seem to be trying too hard to make the audience laugh.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates portrays drinking and drug use. Is substance use glamorized? Are there any real-life consequences? Does the movie judge the characters who party hard? Do you?
What role does sex play in the movie? How does the comedic tone affect the impact of the scenes involving sex and nudity? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
How would you describe the way Alice and Tatiana are portrayed? Are they empowered or are they stereotyped?
How does the movie handle the ideas of love, marriage, sibling relationships, and friendship? Amidst the over-the-top humor, can you see what it's saying about all four?
- In theaters: July 8, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: September 27, 2016
- Cast: Zac Efron, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Adam Devine
- Director: Jake Szymanski
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Brothers and sisters
- Run time: 98 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: crude sexual content, language throughout, drug use and some graphic nudity
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.