Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (2016)


I fully expected this movie to follow in the bad leagues of the other Efron starring movies that have been released in 2016. Gladly ‘Bad Neighbours 2’ and ‘Dirty Grandpa’ this is not, of course there’s still some crass goings on and a general dumb vibe but the movie made me laugh more than a few times and a shining piece of heart does almost come through too.

Multiple family event offenders of ruin, Dave (Zac Efron) and Mike Stangle (Adam DeVine) are told by parents and little sister Jeanie (Sugar Lyn Beard) they need to clean up their partying ways and invite nice girls to Jeanie’s wedding to prevent any disasters on her big day. After posting an online ad, the brothers are inundated with responses which include self absorbed bad girls Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) and Alice (Anna Kendrick) who pretend to be smart ladies to gain a vacation to Hawaii for the wedding.

This is definitely one of those comedy movies where you can tell a lot of the lines are ad-libbed but thankfully it works here. The moments where dialogue feels less scripted helps give it a fresher humour. It helps that the film is in capable hands from the cast who have done and know comedy, leading them down a confident track of coming up with well timed quips, the funny outtakes in the credits is a great example of the many choices of lines the director had on his plate to work with.

A long but admittedly brilliant exchange of whispered words and one sided sexual arousal in a hotel hallway is a stand out scene, this is down to the chemistry between Plaza and DeVine. I believe the main reason this wedding comedy movie hits better than anticipated is because of the chemistry within the cast. There’s a frankly odd yet amusing massage scene, the sibling rivalry comes to a great head and fireworks literally explode after an ill-thought through song and dance performance.

Some smuttier scenes don’t land as well though, a steam room encounter to gain Rihanna tickets is slightly off, a moment where characters take ecstasy isn’t as funny as it may have been and amongst a hell of a lot of cursing is the obvious amount of sexual referencing and frat boy humour you get with this type of American movie. It’s nowhere near as childish and vulgar as ‘Dirty Grandpa’ and it’s certainly not as horribly rude either, in fact the wedding genre is a hugely bankable one and this film fits into the fold nicely with elements of love and big day jitters stopping the whole thing being boobs and bad language.

It’s the cast that save the day, the script has some funny enough ideas but they’re elevated by a capable set of actors that charm the pants/knickers off this feature. Adam DeVine pretty much steals the show, his level of gurning and shrieking amounting to a huge percentage of the laughs. Aubrey Plaza plays the dirty mean girl well, but showcases a hilarious switch when portraying a perfect educated teacher with glasses and a chewed pencil to boot. Anna Kendrick has an element of damaged jilted behaviour and is rude in places but she’s ultimately the sweet good girl and her chemistry with the nicer bro Zac Efron is believable. He must have a signed Hollywood agreement now to take off his shirt in every release, but topless-ness aside he is good bouncing off energetic DeVine and clawing back dignity after his two recent turkeys.

Nothing here rocks the boat or breaks the mould but it’s a funny addition to the comedy wedding line up and thanks to a brilliant cast, the teen humour gets a boneheaded yet fun ride.



Bad Neighbours 2 (2016)


After the surprisingly funny and very agreeable box office takings of ‘Bad Neighbours‘, it probably isn’t any shock that this movie came about. Though having said this it’s not like it was overly called for and upon seeing this sequel I have to say it feels deadly lacking of good laughs.

Now full time parents to little Stella, Mac and Kelly Radner (Seth Rogen & Rose Byrne) are moving on. They think they’ve sold their house but due to an escrow deal, they have 30 days to keep the buyers sweet to finish the agreement. Unluckily for them, the once empty frat house next door is being overtaken by a headstrong lass called Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz) who starts her own partying sorority there and a new war begins.

Just looking at the writing team sparks trouble for this film, as there are five guys tackling this script making the finished product less than light and cohesive. It does make a difference truly as the 2014 movie only had two screenwriters. The saying of too many cooks spoiling the broth certainly rings true with most films I’ve seen with an over-abundance of writers. It’s like the quintet are teaming up for the bigger picture but want all their own touches involved too, amazingly the film doesn’t appear messy, it’s more hollow.

Nicholas Stoller is back to direct this feature and it certainly is a mad foray into the world of female partying and girl empowerment this time around. Though one negative is that this movie isn’t as over the top as last time, the interaction between the oldies and young blood isn’t anywhere near as cool, exciting and funnily tense and another negative is the whole gender scope the film runs with.

A lot of the time during the plot, it brings up issues of what girls can and cannot do, what Shelby believes a growing woman is entitled to and ultimately how the parents view it all considering their daughter. It’s a fine enough topic to shoot for but when scripted b 5 guys the whole thing feels forced and generally the film looks and sounds like it’s trying to be as funny as the first movie.

The soundtrack doesn’t live up to the hands in the air party vibe like the last time around. A blessed relief of Kanye West pumps up the cool and helps the film out but the songs aren’t as catchy or electric for this movie which doesn’t help the pacing a great deal. Also, I remember the first one being out there with sex, drugs and the like but this seems to go too far, a very open labour and foot scream of desperate clawing for OTT comedy…which no-one laughed at in my screening.

There are good moments though, there is still the same laughable chemistry between Byrne and Rogen, a frankly excellent confused spelling of sorority, the air bag idea is back with brilliant vengeance, the continuing void of parenting and dildo holding children is amusing and the little screen time of Dave Franco with Zac Efron is top notch. It’s a shame these positives feel mostly drowned out by a couple of needless gross out gags, a less exciting battle of the ages and emptiness of direction.

Seth Rogen is no good actor but his gurgled laugh and stoner like way he appears in every movie is what he does best and it’s no different here. He plays off the twin girls playing Stella very well and likewise with Rose Byrne he builds a believable bond. Chloe Grace Moretz doesn’t lift the film much at all sadly, she’s trying with a character of hoping to aspire to be a stronger girl but her breaking out against the ‘sexist’ world isn’t that compelling like Zac Efron who feels stitched on just to get the cast back together, him debating his life and choices is a dull part of the runtime. Rose Byrne has great comedic timing and shows she can be gross and less than perfect, though everyone provides a smile they don’t feel connected as with ‘Bad Neighbours’.

Sorority Rising feels more like it’s sinking as a small amount of laughs is gravely felt in all places, making us realise what is wrong with the film, music, direction, writing and the fact it’s trying to crackle in the surprise way the first did.


Bad Neighbours (2014)




A definite R-rated movie with laughs aplenty at the majority of jokes or set pieces that hit the bullseye. It’s down to degrees of over madness and thinly drawn characters that the weaknesses occur.

A couple named Kelly and Mac (Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen) have a little baby and a pretty idyllic home but they fear they’re becoming old and boring, that idea fades as a fraternity led by Teddy (Zac Efron), move in next door to them and a war ensues as the noise causes them to call the cops and report the frat house for their increasing loud behaviour.

From the outset it’s clear how outrageous this comedy is going to be, as we see Byrne and Rogen attempting to spice up their sex life by doing it on the kitchen table and then we see their baby ogling the action and mild funnies break out as they turn her around to try and continue. There’s comedic moments pretty much throughout though some are defintley stronger than others. A weird erection gag with Pete (Dave Franco) is exactly that…weird. The air bags prank is still funny but loses most of its surprise thanks to it being featured in the main trailer and to be honest as I try and think of another failing moment of attempted humour I can’t remember one, in fact I can’t remember much of the smaller scaled jokes as they’re highly forgettable. They get lost in the whirlwind tornado of mad sex crazed antics and strobe lighted partying of the adults trying to be hip and cool. One of the funnier moments is a De Niro scenario where mixed up film references and actors become hilarious as the college kids don’t really know who they’re spoofing and Rogen tries to correct them, still while being annoyed by their aggravated presence.

Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne bring a larger chunk of the house down in their strained trials to seem young and trendy and are good together in their partnered roles, though the weed theme is starting to become a boring, predictable attachment of Rogen’s movies. Their mission to set up Pete and Teddy’s girlfriend is inspired and paced nicely to draw laughter and tension. There’s supporting comic talent in the character of Bill (Ike Barinholtz) who is dumb and tries helping but can’t do it right. He also provides probably the most un PC comment, yet the biggest inducing of laughter just because it’s so stupid and awkward. Efron proves he can play the hunky unintelligent dude who revels in his moments of villainy. Franco is the smart sidekick/vice president who doesn’t have so much in the way of jokes but acts opposite Efron well.

The writing is quite good though it is 100% going down the bad taste route to create its laughs and sometimes that works but sometimes it feels too much and causes you to grow tired of the constant penis and sex jokes. There’s a lot going on nearer the end and it seems to be a party led amount of insane distractions to make you forget the characters aren’t that three dimensional and the story is just an excuse to have the stupidity rise and rise. The core of the movie with the moral and adult theme of how to deal with growing up and accepting maturity is nearly all but forgotten and feels like a bookended idea as the middle is stuffed with the glee of crude ideas. I mean when you have a film that involves milking a human female, a ring of lads casting their penis’ for dildos and once again a penis wrapped around a neck as a choker you know what this kind of film is, pretty much a frat style comedy about frat style antics.

I did laugh quite a lot though as it is funny, just because it’s so outlandish and sillily grim in places. The plot did take a while to get into it’s warring neighbourly action, considering we knew that’s where this story was going, but on the whole I enjoyed it when I looked past the lack of engaging characters and took the foul styled smutty comedy for what it was – which is a joyful series of pranks and set ups that do hit the comic mark.

An explicit yet comic look at the amounts of childishness in both college houses and parents, though the story of growing up does take a backseat to happily roll around in its funky, entertaining slapstick battle of the neighbours.