MOVIE REVIEW: Mike and Dave Need Better Writers


Sometimes you just want to go to a movie and laugh. Laugh hard. Laugh your ass off, laugh until your stomach hurts, laugh until you cry.

Just whole-hearted, bust-your-gut guffaws.

As such, when you walk out of a movie after just a few delightful chuckles, you do so with a pang of disappointment.

So went my experience with “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” — starring Zac Efron, Adam Devine, Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza.

The gist of the movie is this, according to IMDB: “Two hard-partying brothers place an online ad to find the perfect dates for their sister’s Hawaiian wedding. Hoping for a wild getaway, the boys instead find themselves out-hustled by the uncontrollable duo.”

It’s not a horrible movie. It’s not a bad movie. It has its moment when you will chuckle.

It’s the perfect movie for back in the day when you could rent a video cassette tape for $2 and pop it in your VCR on a rainy summer night.

But this 2016 and they don’t sell VCRs anymore. (Do they?)

I had a lot of hope for this movie simply because I genuinely like the four stars.

I adore Kendrick, mainly because — like me — she’s a native Mainer. It’s the same reason I adore Linda Lavin, G. Hannelius, Liv Tyler and Judd Nelson. But Kendrick is also very talented as she has shown through a variety of roles and TV appearances in his short career. (My favorite is still “Up In The Air.”) Her role as Alice in starts off very slowly and her relationship with Plaza’s character isn’t very believable. It’s only when she starts developing some rapport with Efron’s character Dave that she becomes more real.

I’ve always liked Plaza, too, and her wry sense of humor and dead-pan delivery of her humor. Again, though, her chemistry with Kendrick isn’t quite there. They’re supposed to be best friends, yet it comes off as though they’re playing in a movie opposite each other. (The scene where she tries to get backstage tickets to a Rihanna concert is probably her best scene, unfortunately).

Efron has grown up since he was a Disney star, but he’s forged into some more adult roles through the realm of comedy. For the most part, it has worked. (“Neighbors, anyone?) Unlike the Venus half of the movie’s billing, Efron and Devine do work pretty well together and give out the most chuckles as they go back and forth with each other through a variety of scenes.

The first time I ever saw Devine, I knew I had seen him somewhere … but I still don’t know where the somewhere is. He’s just that kind of actor. As he fell in love with Hailey Dunphy on “Modern Family,” you had to root for him because he was so darn likable. Thus, I wanted to like him here, as well. Again, when he’s opposite Efron, it worked. Save for the whispering scene in the hallway of the hotel room, though, him and Plaza just never fully clicked.

I wanted to laugh hard at this movie, but I did not. The jokes simply were not funny enough, so which means the four leads were likely let down by the written word in this case.

The movie, at one point, pays homage to the movie “Wedding Crashers.

I remember “Wedding Crashers”. I watched “Wedding Crashers” and laughed heartily, until it hurt.  You, “Wedding Dates” are no Wedding Crasher.”

But you’re not a bad movie.

I just wanted to laugh.



The First Step … Plus 5,000 more

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

There it was — 5-feet, 10-inches or so from eyes … a new-high sticking its middle finger up at me from my scale this morning.

One of the worst things that has happened to me in my first 50 years of life is spending 32 of those years working a desk job. Ok, sure, I’m living my professional dream, but doing it at the pace I do it has it not been conducive to my health.

I’m sure if I was a 9-to-5er, I’d have made some time to stay active. To play more hoops when I was younger, to play a round of golf of two during the week, to get up off my ass and pull myself away from binge-watching the latest season of “Shameless” and exercise.

Instead, my job could begin at 8 a.m., as it did last Saturday. Or noontime, as it did yesterday and today. And it could run as late as 9 or 10 o’clock.

So when I do get down time, I like to stay down … rest and relaxation.

And, more often than not, I’m eating on the go. I don’t eat a lot of fast food anymore — maybe once every two weeks. But I’m big on sandwiches because you can buy one, hold it in your hand drive to the next place.

Only I can’t do that anymore. Any of it.

Those three numbers down below told me that this morning.

So I stepped off the scale and my first step was toward my sneakers. Then toward my dresser for shorts and socks. Then out the door for a 5,000-step, 40-minute saunter with the West Wing Weekly Podcast in my ear and disappointment in myself in my heart.

But I’ve taken the first step.

Now, I just need to find the discipline to do it again tomorrow. And the next day. And the day after.

I joined a gym a little more than a year ago — a local place called “Edge Fitness” — and I did pretty well for a month or two.

Unfortunately, the people that work there were pushy when it came to “up-selling” their programs and trainers, and when you finally did sign up with the best of intentions, when the job and the real world got in the way, they didn’t care, and wouldn’t budge on matters of money, or doing what was best for the client.

They lied up front about the costs of certain things, as well.

They get your money. That’s all they wanted.

So, fed up with their attitude and poor business practices, I just stopped going.

Bottom line: That’s on me.

Those three numbers are on me, too.

Soon, I hope, they’ll be off me and the number will continue to go down.

I’ve taken the first step and I know from past experience that’s the hardest one of all to take.