I was really looking forward to this. The commercials cracked me up, and I think Adam Devine is one of those comedic actors that is on par with Jack Black and John Belushi. They can illicit laughs with just a facial expression. And one of the thrills for me last year during the Critics’ Choice Awards, was talking to Devine for a bit about his underrated show Workaholics.
In this, they pair him up with Zac Efron, who is doing his dumb, muscular bro character that he just did in Neighbors 2 and Dirty Grandpa. His Dirty Grandpa co-star Aubrey Plaza shows up as a drunken floozy, looking for a free trip to Hawaii. Her pal is the totally miscast Anna Kendrick (who starred with Devine in the Pitch Perfect films). Often times, she looks too young for certain roles (as a lawyer in The Company You Keep, for example). In this, she just doesn’t seem believable as the drunken dope. That doesn’t mean they don’t have a few good lines. There are a handful of scenes with snappy dialogue. How can you not laugh as they lie about their professions, and she tries to explain what she does with hedge funds?
Screenwriters Brendan O’Brien and Andrew Jay Cohen (who penned both the Neighbors films), based this on a real life story about two brothers that put an ad on Craigslist looking for dates to their sister’s wedding. That’s because their father (played by terrific character actor Stephen Root), talks about all the previous family events they’ve ruined with their antics, as well as harassing all the single women.
Early in the movie, you can sense there will be problems with the script. There’s a montage where we see the various people they interview off the ad. Not one single segment of that was humorous. Now, think about the movie 40-Year-Old Virgin, and the speed dating scene. It was hysterical. The montage scene in a comedy, with various weirdos, is so easy to mine for cheap laughs.
Once Plaza and Kendrick show up, and are even crazier than the guys, the film just gets manic and slightly obnoxious. Had these women instead be written as smart girls that just want to dupe the guys for a free trip to Hawaii — that would’ve been something. Instead, they want to go to Hawaii to watch porn and drink free booze. Uh, couldn’t they do that at home? And there comes a point where you wonder if Kendrick’s character is actually an alcoholic. Nothing sucks the humor out of partying on screen, if you have to wonder if a character should actually be getting help, instead of finding more free booze.
Director Jake Szymanski is a first timer, who has spent a lot of time on comedy shorts. Often times, this movie feels like a collection of shorts strung together into a feature film.
I don’t know anything about actress Sugar Lyn Beard, who plays the bride. Her voice is grating and some of the predicaments she gets in don’t make a lot of sense. For example, one of the funnier scenes involve the ATV ride. Unfortunately, you see all of that in the trailers. Does anybody else wonder why, after the girls make the jump doing an incredible stunt, the bride would move right under where the vehicle is going to land when Devine attempts it?
Now, she does have a scene with a mystic, Indian-guru type of masseuse (Kumail Nanjiani), and the massage he gives her is hysterical.
Perhaps if these characters weren’t so immature and shallow, and there was a bit of character development, they may have had something. It’s a great cast for a comedy, but they’re wasted on lazy humor that had a lot more misses than hits.
It’ll remind you of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Wedding Crashers, and Bridesmaids. It has about 1/10th the laughs of any of those movies. Now, I laughed enough that I was never bored watching it. And, it also gets credit for having an interracial marriage that wasn’t addressed, or no cheap jokes were written about. It’s always a pleasant surprise when movies do things like that.
This gets 1 1/2 stars out of 5.