Anna Kendrick and Adam DeVine- a talented actress and another star of Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates- were present at my screening of the movie. After they hyped up the audience and I shouted at DeVine that he smelled good, Anna Kendrick left the theater with a tasteful threat:
"If you don't like the movie, go fuck yourself."
I'm sorry Anna.
Actually, I'm not. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates can go fuck itself. It is one of the most abysmally bad movies I have ever seen. Every minute of it was a wasted minute. Every scene was a train wreck that I desperately wanted to look way from. It was a waste of the filmmakers' time and money- don't let it be a waste of yours. It is a blemish on human existence.
There are bad movies that are fun to watch because they're easily mocked. Why else would The Room be so famous? Dig a little deeper, and you get to the bad movies you just want to forget. Your typical soulless Nicholas Sparks romance maybe, or a superhero movie that missed every mark.
Then dig deep enough to reach the outer layers of hell itself, and you find the bad movies that you just can't forget. The films so horribly made and offensive to every sensibility that you can be absolutely sure the world would be a better place were it to stop existing. That's Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, a "comedy" so aggressively obnoxious that I was ashamed to be passionate about an art form that allows it to live.
After walking out of the movie I thought about Anna's aforementioned words to me. I wasn't considering going and fucking myself, but I was confused by Kendrick's support of the movie. Has she seen it? Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates' portrayal of women is egregious.
There's a film analysis concept called the "Male Gaze". It's the idea that a lot of popular entertainment- especially mainstream movies- are crafted specifically to entice the heterosexual male viewer; that such movies implicitly reinforce the straight man's (harmful) position at the top of the societal chain.
This is accomplished through blatant methods such as objectifying actresses (there are so many butt shots of women walking away from the camera nowadays), through not developing female characters as complete human beings (look up The Bechdel Test), or through a refusal to let women earn a place of power in meritocratic genres such as fantasy films (something that Buffy the Vampire Slayer deconstructs).
In Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza's characters are nothing more than vapid creations of the Male Gaze. The camera sweeps over their bodies with a disgusting lust. Plaza is shrill and manipulative; Kendrick a "sexy idiot". Neither one of them ever registers as an actual person. In this dreadful movie, women are set decorations. If they had a modicum of intelligence or weren't attractive, Mike and Dave would have no use for them.
Oh, and there's a scene of what is definitionally sexual assault that's played for comedy. Line crossed. Sexual assault isn't funny, no matter how you set up the scene.
In fact the whole movie is painfully unfunny. Gross and crass sexual humor isn't funny by nature. It is a template from which one can write funny jokes- something the screenwriters forgot to do. All we really get is Adam DeVine and Zac Efron shrieking, punctuated by increasingly insensitive attempts at "adult" humor. I legitimately ended up covering my eyes and ears to block out the stupidity.
A chunk of the audience had a good time though, proving that humanity is doomed.