*NEW* MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES REVIEW *NEW*

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Mike and Dave needed better writers.

Two hard-partying brothers (Adam Devine and Zac Efron) place an online ad to find the perfect dates for their sister’s Hawaiian wedding. Hoping for a wild getaway, the boys instead find themselves out-hustled by an uncontrollable duo (Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick).

OTT, crude with the odd laugh. Not as bad as I thought it would be BUT that not great either.

The opening didn’t really build my hopes up (I’m getting fed up of writing this sentence). It was established from the get go that the juvenile brothers were complete morons. Their feeble attempt at hustlin’ a new client to buy their booze was okay. BUT I could feel my eyes wandering towards my phone already. NOT even Plaza and Kendrick’s introduction did anything to improve matters.

However, once the wedding date proposal came into play, things picked up. The awkward dating encounters that the Brothers Stangle endured did have me smiling. Attracting all sorts of nutters. A particular highlight involving a man dressed up as a woman desperate for the vacation and willing to do anything for it.

It’s good to see Efron letting loose and poking fun at himself. Dirty Grandpa seemed to shake off his squeaky clean High School Musical image. I’ve never really rated Devine (Pitch Perfect). He always grated against me BUT (thankfully) by the end, the pair won me over. They worked well together and there were moments where you could tell they were trying not to laugh.

Speaking of Dirty Grandpa, Plaza played the feisty foul mouthed slutty role yet again with pretty much the same results. Hilarious in one moment, annoying as hell the next. If anything she played the part better when she was trying to be serious.

I was surprised to see Little Miss Pitch Perfect Anna Kendrick tweaking on ecstasy and effin’ and jeffin’. A complete role change for her. The silly subplot in which her character dealt with her own wedding grief didn’t really come off as well as it should have. BUT once Kendrick was able to bring her schtick to the fold, she nailed it.

“Did you just push your t*ts up and say feminism?!” There was fun to be had and there were genuine moments where I laughed out loud as Mike and Dave met their match with the two ladies. Devine and Plaza were good together especially during Tatiana’s attempts to evade Mike’s advances.

The rest of the supporting cast were a mixed bag. Jake Johnson (New Girl) was completely wasted in his role. Anyone could have played him. Was he supposed to be a passing cameo or was the rest of his part edited in the cutting room? Shame.

Sam Richardson (Veep) never really got going as Jeanie’s boring groom-to-be Eric. Once he broke out of his shell, he was hilarious. Not enough. Sugar Lyn Beard was quite funny as the Stangle’s little sis Jeanie.

Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley) was mental as the creepy masseuse that gave Jeanie “the VIP treatment” (Nudge, nudge, wink, wink). Swinging his nude carcass in like a wrecking ball. However, the entertaining sequence soon went too far and killed the fun.

Alice Wetterlund was really annoying as Mike and Dave’s lesbian Cousin Terry. Her quest to steal any girl away from Mike for fun. The problem was that it just wasn’t funny. Her attempts to “woo” Tatiana and a naked punch up in a spa was just terrible.

Stephen Root (Office Space) didn’t really deliver as the frustrated father. I wanted more of him. The film did try to explore the characters as they addressed their flaws. BUT it was just never going to be that kind of movie. It just dragged the piece and came off really corny. Especially when they didn’t really change that much anyway.

It was watchable and killed the time. The quad bike incident was brilliant – “You look like Burnt Victim Barbie and . . .  you’re Black Ken”. If these quotes aren’t grabbing you, then this movie won’t.

The finale was stupid, OTT BUT left a smile. If you’re in the mood for a silly crude comedy that fits the style of Dirty Grandpa then give it a go. BUT otherwise, don’t bother.

2.5/5

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*NEW* GOOSEBUMPS REVIEW *NEW*

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Black is back!

Corny, frantic BUT highly watchable.

A teenager (Dylan Minnette – Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day) teams up with the daughter (Odeya Rush – The Giver) of young adult horror author R. L. Stine (Jack Black – School of Rock) after the writer’s imaginary demons are set free on the town of Madison, Delaware.

The opening 20 minutes was easy going enough as Minnette’s Zach moved to a new town and (even worse) a new school. And if that wasn’t bad enough. His own mother (Amy Ryan – Birdman) is the new vice principal! I liked the dynamic between Ryan and Minnette. It was a little disappointing to see that thrown out of the window for a cheesy little romance subplot between Zach and the mysterious girl next door Hannah (Rush).

Don’t get me wrong, the pair had good chemistry BUT it was all a little too schmaltzy for my liking. Thankfully it wasn’t too long before the obsessive Stine (Black) made his introduction. Welcome back, Mr Black. As soon as the big man kept randomly popping up at windows and fences, threatening Zach at every opportunity to stay away from Hannah, I was entertained.

It was a different side to Black. More subdued and obnoxious. Not quite as loud or in your face. BUT still on scene stealing form. He has been missed. And with Kung Fu Panda 3 fighting its way at the box office, we will be spoiled.

“If there’s danger, I will run the other way”. Ryan Lee (Super 8) was brilliant as social misfit Champ.

For fans of the real Goosebump books, all the little references were there. The whole magic spiel was a different take. Every creation Stine ever wrote coming to life. All the silly creatures that used to frighten you as a little ‘un (and may still do) were all there.

Slappy the dummy was the one that always freaked me out. And lo and behold, guess who made a special appearance? Black provides his sinister voice-over skills to bring the terrifying toy to life. Slappy’s movie makeover wasn’t quite as spine-tingling as his TV series counterpart. BUT I’ll let you be the judge.

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Shudder. Moving on . . .

The special effects were actually quite good. The 3D gimmick wasn’t missed so save your pennies. I couldn’t really pick any moments that would have better with it. The effects weren’t too cartoony BUT this is a kid’s film, let’s not forget. Can’t creep em out too much now. That’s not to say there weren’t a few jumpy bits that might have got the best of yours truly (What?).

The adorable BUT highly violent garden gnomes suggested a darker undertone and gave me that old Gremlins nostalgia as the gang fought wave after wave of them in the kitchen.

It was silly, a little cheesy BUT good fun as our dysfunctional heroes try to get every creature back in their paperback prisons. The endless statistics that Black spewed up about Stine’s career were all true. Believe me, I checked. Selling more novels than Stephen King?! A passing cameo delivering the perfect punch line.

BUT that’s not to say it was perfect. Just like Scouts’ Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse and Paper Towns, Halston Sage was type cast (yet again) as another high school damsel in distress. Anyone could have played her and, by the end, you realized how unnecessary her character really was.

Amy Ryan was cast aside and reduced to nothing more than a naff running joke with her character avoiding the awkward advances of Ken Marino’s (We’re The Millers) high school coach. Unfunny and a real waste of another actress.

My main issue however, was despite this being a mad little movie; it felt rushed. Not enough of Stine’s ghastly ghouls were brought into the mix. Too many of them were quickly thrown in at the last minute that you couldn’t tell what was what.

It just seemed to push for a frantic finale after all that build up. Veep’s Timothy Simons was heavily underused as dimwitted Officer Stevens. More gags could have made with the guy. He had me in stitches in the two scenes he was lucky to feature in.

BUT grumbling aside, coming from a GB fan, this was a silly little blast from the past. It wasn’t perfect (and didn’t quite top the iconic TV series that ruined my childhood) BUT I could think of worst things to kill the time with the little ‘uns.

3/5 (Just)