Weekender

‘Mike and Dave’ promises a rowdy good time — but can it deliver?

If you’re under 18, you might as well stop reading now.

“Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” opens in theaters this weekend and by the looks of it, the film intends to earn every inch of its hard-R rating.

This, of course, precludes a significant portion of the movie-going public who — unless they arrive with a guardian — will just have to imagine what happens when two numbskull brothers (Zac Efron and Adam DeVine) find themselves in need of respectable plus-ones.

Mike and Dave are habitual rabble-rousers of the highest order with a bad habit of ruining family milestones with the occasional and ill-timed shenanigan. Their parents and sister (the bride-to-be) would sure feel a whole lot better if the boys found themselves two nice young ladies to keep themselves entertained for the duration of the wedding.

We have all seen enough movies to know where this is going, so suffice to say that when Mike and Dave finally land dates, the girls (Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza) with whom they’ll be sharing either the chicken or the fish turn out to be more than even these two seasoned veterans of the booze circuit can manage.

This premise was never going to lend itself to a family friendly film — even aiming for a PG-13 rating would have been the equivalent of throwing a raging house party with parental supervision.

From a studio perspective, limiting your audience is always a tricky gamble. Conventional wisdom says that the more people who can see your movie the better.

Deviating from that truism has occasionally paid dividends. Earlier this year, “Deadpool” grossed about $360 million domestically and was about as R-rated as you can get.

Summer, in particular, has treated raunchy larks like “The Wedding Crashers” better than fair and proven that there is an audience for a certain degree of over-the-top crudeness that you can’t really get away with anywhere but a movie screen.

That’s always been the fun of this variety of blockbuster, a certain kind of escapism that isn’t derived fantasy or even romance — just the thrill of seeing people behave in a manner that is simultaneously more honest and yet more removed from what we experience in everyday life.

How successful “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” will be is anybody’s guess at this point, but if the movie is faithful to its premise, it may just have a shot.

Frank Ready: 814-231-4620, @fjready

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