DIRECTOR: Jake Szymanski.
CAST: Zac Efron, Adam Devine, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Sugar Lyn Beard, Sam Richardson.
CLASSIFICATION: 16 DNLS.
RUNNING TIME: 99 minutes
RATING: 2 stars (out of 5)
Proving that life is stranger than fiction, the film’s premise is not the made-up part – brothers Mike (Devine) and Dave (Efron) Stangle really did get told to find respectable dates for a family wedding.
They really did go on Craigslist to find said dates. Their advert really did go viral and really they did go on multiple double dates thanks to the multiple responses to the dates. From there, the film takes artistic license with the narrative, but doesn’t do anything original, unusual or surprising.
Even as the script follows a very derivative bent of prat falls, profanity, crudity and obvious gags, the actors try hard and the setting of Hawaii is gorgeous.
Mike and Dave settle on two girls – Tatiana (Plaza) and Alicia (Kendrick) – who turn out not to be respectable at all, but just as self-absorbed and clueless as they are. They are also just as rude, ready for alcohol, booze or casual sex so the film does evince a welcome sense of gender parity for bad behaviour.
Hollywood demands that the wedding is messed up, so no surprises there, nor in what happens afterwards. All four actors have great comic timing and their improvisation skills are tested, but crude sexual gags and tastelessness hammering the same jokes over and over hold them back. The characters aren’t consistent and ultimately this is just one long stretched- out gag – that two guys need dates.
If you liked Couples Retreat, you will like this.