Adam Devine Anna Kendrick

Comically Bad Wedding Planning and Talking Pets: Some Movies To See This Weekend

Friday, July 08, 2016 Rob Samuelson

The summer spectacle season slows down a little bit this weekend with one release for the whole family and a raunchy comedy most certainly not intended to be family entertainment. Let's see what's hitting theaters. 

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
Director: Jake Szymanski
Writers: Andrew Jay Cohen, Brendan O'Brien
Starring: Zac Efron, Adam Devine, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza

The inclusion of Workaholics' Adam Devine in seemingly every American comedy of the last five years has been rather distressing to me. His schtick of sing talking and screechy over emoting is the opposite of funny to me. That's what made me tune out when the trailer for this movie initially hit the internet, despite Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect) and Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) also being prominent members of the cast. 

But then I saw that Jake Szymanski directed it. Szymanski is the man behind some of the most gleefully dumb things I've seen, including Bat Fight With Will Ferrell and last year's HBO tennis satire with Andy Samberg and Game of Thrones' Kit Harrington,7 Days in Hell. He's also the director of my favorite comedy special of the decade, John Mulaney: New in Town. And now I am downright excited for Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, in which Devine and Zac Efron persuade party girls Kendrick and Plaza to join them at their sister's destination wedding and everything goes poorly. 

The Secret Life of Pets
Directors: Chris Renaud, Yarrow Cheney
Writers: Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio, Brian Lynch
Starring: Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate, Ellie Kemper, Albert Brooks

We all create voices for our pets, right? They develop personalities, peculiar vocabularies, and catchphrases -- my cat's version of "deal with it" is "tough cookies!" And I think we all secretly suspect our pets speak and have adventures when we leave them alone. That's the premise of The Secret Life of Pets, which follows a bunch of fuzzy friends who must go on a rescue mission while their owners are at work. 

The premise is already good enough to be fun, but the voice cast is what make the movie so potentially good. Louis C.K. has been one of the most consistently funny and creative voices in entertainment for the last decade, and now he gets to bring his prickly persona to a movie for kids -- that's some subversive stuff. Jenny Slate (Obvious Child, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On) puts a lot of silly sweetness into her characters, which seems perfectly suited for a movie where she plays a tiny ball of fluff. And who doesn't want to see more of Kimmy Schmidt herself, Ellie Kemper? And Albert Brooks is a god among people. This is a cast that's not necessarily household celebrity names like, say, Toy Story was, but they're a set of ringers who elevate everything they're in. 

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