Zac Efron and Aubrey Plaza Try Again, in “Mike and Dave”

“Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates”,  starring Zac Efron, Anna Kendrick, Adam Devine and Aubrey Plaza goes out to theaters, July 8. Only six months ago we saw a very similar movie in theaters: “Dirty Grandpa,” also starring Zac Efron and Aubrey Plaza. “Dirty Grandpa” was not well received by critics or viewers, and “Mike and Dave” could redeem our faith in Plaza and Efron’s star-power.


From left to right: Anna Kendrick, Zac Efron, Adam Devine, Aubrey Plaza.

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Leading actors is not the only thing these movies share. The movies share a very similar premise: a blonde bride prepares for her wedding while Zac Efron’s character parties at the beach with a family member, and two wild girls they just met. Those girls include a delightfully sociopathic and sexually adventurous character played by Aubrey Plaza, and her strawberry-blonde-haired best friend.


From the left: Aubrey Plaza, Robert DeNiro, Zoey Deutch, Zac Efron. DeNiro plays Efron’s “dirty” grandpa.

In neither film did Plaza and Efron play love interests to each other, but Plaza joked in an interview with Elle Magazine, “I’m on this Zac Efron train right now. I’m just riding it to the top. We’re going to become America’s sweethearts very soon, I hope.”

Filming for “Mike and Dave” began almost immediately after “Dirty Grandpa” wrapped. Reviews for “Dirty Grandpa” were unanimously disapproving, despite a star studded cast including Robert DeNiro, Dermot Mulroney, and cult-classic “Vampire Academy” star Zoey Deutch. This was a surprising flop considering the company behind the flim: Lionsgate. Lionsgate distributed both the wildly successful “Hunger Games” trilogy, and the lower budgeted but still successful, “Divergent” trilogy, both adapted from book series.

20th Century Fox took a page from Lionsgate’s book-adaption winning streak when it picked up “Mike and Dave.” The movie is closely based on an autobiographical book called “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, and a Thousand Cocktails,” by real brothers, Mike and Dave Stangle.

[Book cover]

[Book cover]

In “Mike and Dave,” the movie, “Workaholics” writer and star Adam Devine, and Zac Efron play Mike and Dave. Their sister Jeanie is getting married in Hawaii, and she asks them to bring respectable dates. She hopes that good girls will keep them out of their usual trouble:  partying too hard and getting people injured.  The trailer show the brothers setting off some fireworks that blow up a vehicle, which sends people running and screaming.

Despite moderately funny trailers, “Mike and Dave” has to be a great movie. The crew is an all-star-crew, and includes none of the crew from ‘Dirty Grandpa.” The director also directed the very funny, “Let’s Be Cops” movie, and 23 episodes of ‘Modern Family.” The writers for this movie also worked on “The 40 Year Old Virgin” and both “Neighbors” movies. The editor also edited “Crazy Stupid Love” and several episodes of “Arrested Development.” The talent in this movie is too big to fail, right? This is Efron and Plaza’s opportunity to redeem themselves.
In April, Devine, Efron and Kendrick won Comedy Stars of the Year at CinemaCon in Las Vegas.

Aubrey Plaza and Zac Efron just filmed two movies together, back to back, but the other stars have history as well. Anna Kendrick and Adam Devine have been working together for several years now on the “Pitch Perfect” movies. A third “Pitch Perfect” is in the works and is set to be released late 2017.  Kendrick had a role in Plaza’s “Life After Beth,” a zombie-comedy-drama. Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza are long time close friends. Their friendship is actually famous and there are articles written about them, like Buzzfeed’s 2015 article, “16 Times Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza Had the Best Friendship Ever,”

Even Anna Kendrick and Zac Efron have a little history: they presented an Oscar together a few years ago, as they pointed out in an interview.

Check out “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates,” rated R, in theaters July 8.

– Rochelle Leahy

Zac Efron and Aubrey Plaza Try Again, in “Mike and Dave”