Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. USA, 2016. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Chernin Entertainment, TSG Entertainment. Screenplay by Andrew Jay Cohen, Brendan O’Brien. Cinematography by Matthew Clark. Produced by Peter Chernin, Jonathan Levine, Jenno Topping. Music by Jeff Cardoni. Production Design by Tyler B. Robinson. Film Editing by Lee Haxall, Jonathan Schwartz.
Brothers Mike (Adam DeVine) and Dave (Zac Efron) Stangle spend their days selling beer to drinking establishments and their nights getting in trouble while drinking it. Their parents, exasperated with the mayhem that these adorable but destructive boys cause, issue an ultimatum about their upcoming trip to their sister’s wedding in Hawaii: either bring two fine, upstanding women along as dates or don’t come at all. The hope is that having ladies with them will ensure better behaviour, which we know is a recipe for bigger disaster when they choose two unemployed barmaids (Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza) masquerading as a hedge fund manager and school teacher. The girls just want the free trip to Hawaii, but Kendrick finds herself charmed by Efron while Plaza, indifferent to DeVine’s appeal, finds it impossible to avoid letting loose on the tropical island. What you hope will be another Hangover is actually a sometimes funny, unnecessarily sweet exercise in far too little excess: we have ATVs running over faces, naked masseurs and girls fingerbanging in the shower, so why is the whole thing being treated with such prudish restraint? Jake Szymanski directs like he’s worried about offending Efron’s High School Musical fans, robbing the audience of the pleasure of seeing the kind of debauchery that this kind of foolishness demands (and deserves). It overextends some comedy sequences without good cause (we know he’s going to run that vehicle over her face, there’s no need to set it up for quite so long), but the leads are sympathetic and complement each other perfectly , with Efron’s lack of acting prowess but rich sincerity blending beautifully with DeVine’s manic, endless comic chops. The actors are having such a good time and Hawaii looks beautiful, so don’t be surprised if you have a good, if not wholly memorable time. Based, it claims, on a true story, and the actual Stangle boys make a cameo appearance.