It all started with a Craiglist ad that became viral when real life brothers Mike and Dave Stangle are looking for dates to bring to a wedding – sounds crazy but it really happened. Their story reaches the big screen in the hilarious and aptly titled “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” starring Anna Kendrick, Zac Efron, Adam Devine and Aubrey Plaza.
Mike (Devine) and Dave Stangle (Efron) are young, adventurous, fun-loving and, some would even say, obnoxious. The “some” would include other members of the Stangle family. So when their sister Jeanie announces she’s getting married, the family holds an intervention, demanding that Mike and Dave bring respectable dates. To fulfill their family’s request Mike and Dave turn to the best source of decent, respectable girls they can think of: Craigslist. They place an ad promising that their selected companions will receive an all-expense paid trip to Hawaii and the chance to participate in all of the Stangle family wedding-related activities.
Along with its R-rated humor, “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” has unexpected moments of heart. Jake Szymanski, who makes his feature directorial debut after helming hilarious short form comedies on “Funny or Die,” says: “The Stangle family is very tightly-knit, even when they disagree. They’re very proud of being Stangles, so they’re just trying to have one family event that doesn’t get completely screwed up by Mike and Dave.”
When tuning in to their back-and-forth banter, it becomes clear that the Stangles’ primary interest is entertaining each other. If anyone else thinks they are funny too, well, so much the better. Before long the idea of a book emerged. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (and a thousand cocktails) continues with the same volley of dialogue and ideas; Mike does a chapter, then Dave does a chapter and so on.
Whatever their differences, Mike and Dave are tight. “They have a symbiotic relationship,” says Efron. “They can’t exist without one another. They’re as much best friends as they are brothers.”
Mike and Dave certainly know how to rock a room, but they’re small-timers compared to their dates. As background to Alice (Kendrick) and Tatiana (Plaza), director Szymanski observes that they “have a history of misadventures that have taken them around the world. They can travel around the globe with only a couple of backpacks, and have stories to tell for ages.”
“The characters were great inventions of our writers,” notes Ready. “Tatiana is a mix of danger and sexuality, and everything she does is pretty extreme. Alice is a wild child who is always unpredictable. They are in such different places in their lives, and yet these wedding dates are just what they need.”
The burgeoning brotherly bond between Devine and Efron was facilitated by the opportunity to spend considerable time together on location. Says Devine: “Zac and I arrived in Oahu two weeks before production started, and we didn’t know anyone else there. Who else am I going to hang out with? So we obviously were just going to hang out with each other every day and that was great planning on Fox’s part, because we became the best of buds. By the end of production, he says with a laugh, “we finished each other’s sentences in a weird way.”
Rated R-18 by the MTRCB, “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” opens September 14 in cinemas from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.