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Movie Review

"Mike, Dave, I love you guys, and I cannot wait for you to be a part of our big day," Jeanie Stangle tenderly tells her beloved big bros.

There's just one teeny, tiny condition, she adds a bit sheepishly: "But you need wedding dates."

Now, for normal folks that might seem a simple request. But for bachelors extraordinaire Mike and Dave, well, not so much. You see, these fun-loving brothers' idea of what makes a good wedding ceremony is at odds with their sister's—and their parents', for that matter. The Brothers Stangle think every wedding can be better with alcohol (lots of it), fireworks (big ones), girls they hit on at the reception (preferably attractive and drunk), and, well, them.

"We're party creators," Mike brags.

More like wedding destroyers, their family counters. Their grandfather had a heart attack due to the guys' epic antics at the last family wedding that Mike and Dave torched. (Did I mention the fireworks?) Hence Jeanie's wise ultimatum.

Mike and Dave relent. After all, how hard could it possibly be to find two nice girls to take on an all-expenses paid trip to Hawaii? I mean, isn't that what Craigslist and daytime talk shows are for? That's what Mike and Dave think, anyway.

The viral whirlwind that ensues soon nets the guys exactly the kind of dates they're looking for. Tatiana's a no-nonsense school teacher. Alice is a whip-smart hedge-fund manager. (Or so the women claim.)

It's only after the four of them get to Hawaii that Mike and Dave slowly begin to discover that their dates might not be exactly who they said they were. In fact, Tatiana and Alice might just be wilder than the infamous Stangle Brothers … if such a thing is possible.

Which doesn't bode well at all for poor Jeanie's highly anticipated tropical nuptials.

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Positive Elements

Both of this film's pairs of hedonistic characters—Mike and Dave, Alice and Tatiana—have a difficult time taking responsibility for their choices. They make excuses. They see themselves as misunderstood victims. In the end, however, all four realize that the disastrous happenings that predictably take place before Jeanie ties the knot with longsuffering fiancé Eric are, in fact, their fault.

Mike and Dave are in many ways narcissistic doofuses. But they genuinely want Jeanie to have a good wedding … even if they keep unintentionally sabotaging it. Likewise, self-centered Alice and Tatiana eventually get with the program, teaming up with the brothers to try to give Jeanie the best ceremony possible— after they've pretty much shredded the bride's original plans.

All four main characters come to terms, at least superficially, with some deeper insecurities and fears by the time the credits roll. In the end, they all want to be better people than the self-absorbed individuals that they've been for the majority of the movie.

Spiritual Content

Tatiana—who's anything but religious—crosses herself. Mike does so as well after getting ordained as a minister using a website. A masseuse mentions the Chinese spiritual concept of Chi to Jeanie (whom he's massaging), and he describes the sexual encounter he hopes to have with her in spiritual terms.

Sexual Content

A woman is shown fully unclothed from the front and back. Another woman's breast is briefly visible. Mike and Dave's cousin, Terry, is an aggressive lesbian who tries to seduce Tatiana. Eventually, Terry manipulates Tatiana into participating in a sexual encounter that avoids nudity but includes explicit movements. Mike catches them in the act and is horrified.

He also inadvertently sees his sister with the above-mentioned masseuse—and is even more horrified. That scene involves glimpses of both nude participants from the side, as well as explicit sexual motions and sounds. Graphic language accompanies the masseuse's actions as he tells Jeanie what he is and isn't going to do during their time together. Among many other things, he calls the oil he rubs all over himself "God's beautiful lubricant." (Jeanie regrets the whole encounter, which Alice had bribed the masseuse to initiate, when Eric learns of it.)

Another sex scene involves a woman's bare backside and explicit motions. Dave and Alice make out passionately on a picnic table. Alice and Tatiana wear cleavage-baring outfits and bikinis, and they wander about their apartment in their underwear. We watch as they pack skimpy lingerie for the trip. Alice apparently gets completely undressed while on drugs, but she hides her nakedness behind a strategically placed horse.

Mike expects Tatiana to have sex with him, and he makes that desire known. Tatiana toys with him but mostly resists Mike's continual come-ons.

Frequent verbal references to sex include multiple crude slang terms for male and female genitalia, masturbation, groping, oral sex, women watching pornography, lesbian stereotypes (someone dubs Terri "bisexual Fonzi," and another gay woman's hair is mockingly compared to a "Nike swoosh"), pretending to be prostitutes and someone dying of AIDS. Mike and Dave have a graphic conversation about their parents performing a sex act.

People who try to convince Mike and Dave to take them to Hawaii with them (before they meet Alice and Tatiana) include a man who dresses as a woman (and who hints at sexual favors), two prostitutes, and a lesbian. Mike kisses Dave at one point.

Violent Content

The film's opening montage features footage from two different wedding receptions that Mike and Dave basically destroy. Among other things, they fire a massive firework (suggestively from between Dave's legs) into an RV, causing it to explode, and they bounce a drunk woman painfully off a trampoline.

Tatiana stages a violent accident to get Mike and Dave's attention by throwing herself in front of a moving car. She's hit by it, bounces off the windshield and lands with a thud on the concrete (where she feigns unconsciousness). Mike pilots a four-wheeler off a jump and clips his sister's face on the way down. It leaves a horrific contusion, one that prompts Mike (never known for his sensitivity) to quip that she looks like "Burn Victim Barbie."

Mike and Dave brawl. Mike poisons someone with with Visine (which he hopes will give the victim diarrhea, an idea he says he got from a prank in the 2005 movie Wedding Crashers). Dave destroys a hotel-room TV.

April vacillates between stories about how an ex-boyfriend allegedly died, with one explanation involving a plane crash, another involving AIDS.

Crude or Profane Language

Eighty-plus f-words, including at least one pairing with "mother." More than 30 s-words. God's name is abused nearly 25 times, including six or seven pairings with "d--n." Jesus' name is abused four times, once, strangely, with the middle name "Hussein." "A--" and "b--ch" are both used about a dozen times each. Nearly 20 slang references to the male anatomy, and four or five of the female anatomy. Other profanities include "d--n," "p-ss" and "h---."

Drug and Alcohol Content

Mike and Dave work together in an alcohol distribution business. We hear verbal references to different drinks (vodka, tequila, sake, etc.). Characters imbibe various alcoholic beverages throughout the film. The movie's opening scenes depict Mike and Dave drinking and in full revelry mode at the two wedding parties they wreck. Multiple scenes show empty bottles of beer and liquor.

Alice goes to work drunk (which she's done before) and gets herself and Tatiana fired. Tatiana is impressed by the fact that Mike and Dave sell alcohol for a living. Dave wants to pursue a career as an artist, and he shows Alice a sketchbook full of anthropomorphized drawings of alcohol containers.

Alice inhales smoke from a massive bong. Tatiana puffs pot in a hotel pool from a makeshift apple bong. They smoke marijuana in their hotel room. Tatiana jokes about the time she and Alice made "vodka pot brownies" for their friends in junior high. Alice gives Jeanie an Ecstasy pill (though later she confesses to Jeanie that it could have been some other drug). Jeanie, who's never done drugs, gets deliriously high; Alice's pretty stoned on the stuff, too. There's a passing reference to peyote.

Other Negative Elements

Alice and Tatiana are determined to do whatever they want on their Hawaiian "vacation," and they repeatedly, selfishly hijack Jeanie's agenda. While stoned on Ecstasy, Jeanie releases a pen full of horses, instructing them, "Be free, my friends. Follow your dreams." Someone mockingly calls Eric, who's African-American, "Black Ken."

Conclusion

The template for the modern R-rated comedy these days has two basic ingredients.

One, push the visual and verbal content boundaries of the genre as far as possible, especially with regard to sexual content. Two, fill the movies with well-known stars (Zac Efron and Anna Kendrick this time around) whose characters embody over-the-top hedonism and narcissism for about 95% of the movie before making a selfless, saccharine turnaround right at the end.

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates fulfills that formula to the tee. And the breakdown between naughty and nice in this predictable, formulaic, raunchy flick is about 95% naughty, 5% nice.

And that's probably being generous.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

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