Home Page > Movies Index (w/mixed oldies) > > Movie Review

This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Strange Brew

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (2016) on IMDb

Plot Overview

We are introduced to two bros: the elder one Mike Stangle (Adam Devine) and the younger Dave (Zac Efron)—they look to be in their twenties but act as if they're in their teens … if that—selling an off-brand tequila (“I'll take ten cases”) to a local (Randy: “He dated my niece”) bar owner named Randy (Marc Maron.) Their party attitude (“do some­thing crazy”) hints at why their liquor business has failed to launch (“do the barbecue”). An inter­title informs us this movie is based on a true story ... sort of.

Their White upper-middle-class parents Burt (Stephen Root) and Rosie (Stephanie Faracy) sit them down for a talk (“Mom and dad, what's going on?”) concerning their sister Jeanie (Sugar Lyn Beard) and her black fiancé Eric's (Sam Richardson) upcoming Hawaiian wedding. Says Burt “of our family gatherings, you two show up, aaaaaaand ... you ruin it.” He demonstrates with some graphic video (“It was fine up to that part.”) The problems begin with the way they hit on random women at these gatherings. “This shtick,” he tells them, “was cute for a while, but it's gotten stale.” He insists they bring wedding dates, “nice, respec­table, smart girls to keep you in line.”

So Mike and Dave post an ad on craigslist: “Two men need wedding dates to Hawaii.” It goes viral; they get over 6,000 responses. They have interview dates with thirty-seven of them and counting when an oppor­tun­istic pair, (Mike's date) Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) and (Dave's date) her best friend Alice (Anna Kendrick) devise a spoof to get selected, having seemingly met the criteria. Problem solved.

In Hawaii, though, these girls show their true colors (“Who are these girls?”) turning the blushing bride into “burn victim Barbie” (“That is unaccep­table”) and the wedding into a fiasco (“This wedding is going to hell.”)


My neighbor got a new dog Chucky that would bark like crazy every time it encountered me out walking. The neighbors explained it was on account of mistreatment from a former owner who always wore a hat. As long as I doffed by hat when I saw him coming he didn't bark.

Well, one day I was visiting with a black neighbor on the sidewalk and I see Chucky coming. I quickly removed my hat and suggested my neighbor do the same. He didn't know what I was talking about, so he left his on. And Chucky was cool with that. He just didn't like white men who wore hats. In his animal brain, he generalized threats by sex, race, and attire. Since he was aloof from human history and politics he could get away with it.

In “Mike and Dave” one of their potential wedding dates was a dog-walker who thought, “Dogs should have good homes.” By that she meant “white homes” as in “white people.” Her inter­view was terminated at that point. I suppose the boys didn't want to take a chance, not with so many other prospects to choose from and their future bro-in-law being black.

Eric for his part was like a burnt marshmallow: black on the outside, white on the inside. The whole issue of mixed marriage is not addressed in this movie except perhaps for Jeanie's one remark, “Every­body is already stressed out about this wedding.” The groom's Negro family is invisible in it, except for a brief scene near the very end when we see the wedding guests seated according to bride or groom affiliation: white on one side, black on the other. In the most racially diverse state in the nation, they manage to bring to it a segregated venue. The wedding songs consist of Elvis Presley's “Love Me Tender”, and “You Are So Beautiful to Me.” Elvis had been snatched up by a manager who was looking for a White boy who could sing like a Negro. Eric is a Negro who acts White. The ‘Looking Beautiful’ song reminds me that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If this wedding represents a needed victory in race relations, then it's a Pyrrhic victory costing more than was gained.

Perhaps we should consider the “true story” (sort of) on which was based the movie. After Noah's Flood in the Bible, there was an incident, Gen. 9:20-22, where Noah got drunk on wine and was exposed in all his glory to his son Ham who brazenly viewed him so. Noah's other two sons, Shem and Japheth, covered him up, Gen. 9:23. Ham had violated him in some way, Gen. 9:24. Noah's curse puts Ham's youngest son Canaan in a position of servitude, Gen. 9:25. Noah's other two sons Shem, Gen. 9:26, and Japheth, Gen. 9:27, were blessed by Noah. Canaan in Ham's line was possibly singled out for mention because of the Canaanites' later dealings with the Semitic Israelites. More germane to modern times is perhaps the lineage of Cush. Cush was also a son of Ham (Gen. 10:6), settling in Africa. Cush is Hebrew meaning black. Writer Bodie Hodge (134) quotes “Bible Questions and Answers,” The Golden Age (July 24, 1929): p. 702.

Question: Is there anything in the Bible that reveals the origin of the Negro?

Answer: It is generally believed that the curse which Noah pronounced upon Canaan was the origin of the Black race. Certain it is that when Noah said, “Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be to his brethren,” he pictured the future of the Colored race.

We have the same number of principals here: (Gen. 6:10) “And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.” (Gen. 7:7) “And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.” In the movie we also have the father and mother, and their three off­spring with their partners forming the core of the plot. In the Bible Ham (Gen. 9:24) is the youngest brother, and in the movie Jeanie is the youngest sibling. Ham is father to black Cush and Jeanie is to marry black Eric—it's not an exact correspondence.

The brothers' Hawaiian entertainment that they line up is “swimming with dolphins,” but that gets changed to riding ATVs in Jurassic Park. God in Noah's time had planned to flood the world, so the people would be “swimming with dolphins” but that gets changed for Noah's crew into riding the waves with exotic beasts. Noah's family then has to cope with a new situation after a major catastrophe as do the Stangles after their previously video­taped gatherings. Noah's sons have to become respectable family men to repopulate the earth, as do Mike and Dave need respectable dates. Noah planted a vine­yard and made wine. Mike and Dave sell tequila.

There is an incident where Noah gets drunk on wine, and his youngest son Ham sees him naked and makes an issue of it. In this movie Jeanie gets stoned on Ecstasy (provided by Dave's wedding date Alice) and spills the beans to her suitor as she's “coming down from MDMA”, telling him that she'd enjoyed a naked “bliss” massage with a naked masseur (Kumail Nanjiani). That really tore it with her black fiancé whom the audience is by now sympathizing with, and Mike compares it to intruding on their parents' intimacy: “What's next! I'm gonna walk in on mom giving dad a push-pop [Don't ask]?”

As one final parallel the two tripping naked broads open the gates of Kanaloa Bay Stables to set free the horses, crying, “Freedom! Freedom!” Upon drawing attention to her­self, Alice covers her nakedness with one of the horse manes. Then she tells Dave she “can't continue to wear this horse,” and he chival­rously gives her his duds. That's the deal with Noah's pronouncement on Ham's youngest son, that Ham couldn't continue to wear the mantle of freedom, but his off­spring would be servants from the days of his youngest son onward. Ham him­self didn't go on the auction block right away.

Production Values

This film, “” was directed by Jake Szymanski. It was written by Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O'Brien. It stars Zac Efron, Adam DeVine, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, and Sugar Lyn Beard. Zac Efron, Adam Devine, Anna Kendrick, and Aubrey Plaza did a great job with every moment of their screen time. Sugar Lyn Beard was adorable hamming it up as a hyped-up bride-to-be. Stephen Root held down his part as the frustrated dad. Sam Richardson didn't over­play his part as the unsuspecting fiancé.

MPAA rated it R for crude sexual content, language throughout, drug use and some graphic nudity. It was filmed on location in Hawaii. The en masse fire­works display is actually how the Chinese do it. If there wasn't enough gross humor for you, stay for the mad credits at the end.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

This movie does not get spoiled by a trailer giving away the best parts; much of what we see there isn't even included in the movie proper. It is not a one-joke flick. Instead, we get a well-heeled couple preparing for a dream wedding, a dad trying to rein in his daughter's unruly brothers, two well-meaning brothers who sincerely try to do their best by their little sister by bringing dates to mellow them­selves out, and a couple ditsy broads who take advantage of the dufuses to gain a free trip to Hawaii. What could possibly go wrong? Every­thing, and it's a blast.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action-packed fun. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall product rating: Five stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Hodge, Bodie. Tower of Babel: The Cultural History of Our Ancestors. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Pub., 2013. Print.