From Real Life To Reel Comedy: Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates

“We thought the only logical way to get dates that knew each other, that would hang out with the two of us, was to (put) this on Craigslist.  We wrote it, kind of thinking it was a joke that we could send to each other.”

The comedy Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates takes the intriguing idea of two brothers finding dates for a wedding and runs with it, adding unexpected layers of heart and two outrageous new lead characters.

Mike and Dave

The real Mike and Dave Stangle / Adam Devine and Zac Efron play the bothers in Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates

Universal Pictures presents the World Premiere of "Neighbors" in Los Angeles, CA on Monday, April 28, 2014 (Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O’Brien have established themselves as two of the hottest names in comedy after writing Nicholas Stoller‘s “Neighbors” and “Neighbors 2” Andrew Jay Cohen (Screenwriter, Executive Producer) recently made his feature film directorial debut with The House starring Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler, which he also co-wrote and produced. Cohen co-wrote and executive produced Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising. Cohen also served as 2nd Unit Director, co-writer and executive producer on the first Neighbors. Cohen studied film at Yale University and got his start in the film industry working at Creative Artists Agency. While assisting a television agent, Cohen wrote and directed spec commercials and short films in his free time. One of them caught the eye of director Adrian Lyne, who hired Cohen as his assistant on Lyne’s feature Unfaithful. Cohen went on to work alongside Judd Apatow for many years—first as Apatow’s assistant on Anchorman, and then as associate producer on The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Talladega Nights and as co-producer on Funny People. Brendan O’brien (Screenwriter, Executive Producer) is a feature comedy screenwriter and producer. O’Brien co-wrote and executive produced the hit film Neighbors (Universal/Good Universe) starring Seth Rogen and Zac Efron, which grossed over 270 million dollars worldwide, and co-wrote and executive produced the 2016 sequel, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising. O’Brien co-wrote, with frequent collaborator Andrew Jay Cohen, and produced the upcoming feature The House (New Line/ Good Universe/ Gary Sanchez) starring Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler. Universal Pictures picked up O’Brien’s Untitled Action-Comedy pitch, which will re-team him with Gary Sanchez and Will Ferrell. He will write and produce the feature for Ferrell to star in for Universal. A graduate of Georgetown University, O’Brien worked on The 40-Year-Old Virgin and was a co-producer on Judd Apatow’s Funny People. He also co-wrote and produced the Funny or Die viral hits “Acting with James Franco” and “Makin’ Music with John Mayer,” which collectively have over five million views.

“These two guys put an ad on Craigslist, trying to get dates for a wedding and I thought, ‘What kind of asshole would do that?’” jokes co-screenwriter Andrew Jay Cohen, who collaborated with Brendan O’Brien.  But then we thought, what if the dates were crazier than the guys and the guys get their comeuppance.”

Hard-partying brothers Mike (Adam Devine) and Dave (Zac Efron) place an online ad to find the perfect dates (Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza) for their sister’s Hawaiian wedding. Hoping for a wild getaway, the boys instead find themselves outsmarted and out-partied by the uncontrollable duo.

Mike and Dave Stangle are young, adventurous, fun-loving and, some would even say, obnoxious.  The “some” would include other members of the Stangle family.  So when their sister Jeanie announces she’s getting married, the family holds an intervention, demanding that Mike and Dave bring dates.  Respectable dates!

The reason for the intervention is revealed through quick flashbacks that recall the guys’ antics over the years at Stangle family gatherings.  Everyone’s having a good time, things are going smoothly, and then Mike and Dave show up stag, get drunk, hit on the girls, act like idiots and ruin the celebration.  Therefore, dates!

To fulfill their family’s request Mike and Dave turn to the best source of decent, respectable girls they can think of: Craigslist.  They place an ad promising that their selected companions will receive an all-expense paid trip to Hawaii and the chance to participate in all of the Stangle family wedding-related activities.

The ad goes viral, and the response is so overwhelming that Mike and Dave have no choice but to audition the candidates.  They meet with nice girls, grungy girls, weird girls, paranoid girls, militant girls, twin girls that look like guys, girls that are guys.

The dates they hadn’t counted on are Tatiana and Alice.  They seek out the brothers and charm their way into the winning spot as wedding dates.

For background, “Brendan and I had talked on the phone with Mike and Dave Stangle, and asked them stories about their life,” Cohen recalls.  “They feel like their entire life is a comedy bit, and there’s something charming about that.  Then there’s something that makes you want to destroy it.  That’s what this movie is about.”


The Real Story: It Started With A … Craigslist Ad

As crazy as all this sounds, it actually happened.  Keep reading…


My brother and I are looking for wedding dates.

We’ve been told by the bride that bringing dates is “mandatory” so we “won’t harass all of my friends all night” and “stay under control.” Rather than ask some fringe women in our lives to go and face the inevitable ‘does this mean he wants to take it to the next level!?’ questions, we’d rather bring complete strangers and just figure it out. Still reading? In anticipation of your questions we’ve developed an FAQ section below.

Dave, Mike… What’s in it for me?

  • An excuse to get dressed up
  • Open bar & food all night
  • Eccentric/downright dangerous bro-2-bro dance moves (may need to sign a waiver)
  • Adventure
  • Mystery
  • Suspense
  • True Love
  • Royalties once our night’s story is developed into a romantic comedy*

*if this happens (we estimate the chances at 85%) we refuse the right to let Ashton Kutcher play either of our characters, however, we will consider him for a supporting role.

SO – What are you fellas like, anyway?

Oh us? We’re both in our 20s, single, dashingly tall, Anglo-Saxon, respectfully athletic, love to party, completely house trained, relaxed, passionate, smell great, have cool hair, clean up nice, boast great tie collections, will promise to shave, love our mother, have seen Love Actually several times, controversial, provocative, short-sighted (with a big picture mentality), raw, emotional, sensitive but still bad boys.

What should us ladies be like?

You should respond in pairs as you’ll want to know at least 1 person at this wedding. Sisters (twins?!) are preferable, but we’ll take friends, or even enemies. You should be attractive or our aunts will judge you, but not TOO attractive or one of our uncles might grope you. You should be relaxed and easy going as we’ll probably make up flattering lies about you on the spot. You should own a dress, or be able to acquire one because we don’t have any. If (when) you respond you should send some pictures of yourself so we know you’ve met the above requirements. Feel free to include a resume; this is a classy wedding and we’re looking for well-rounded women. Interesting/unique pairings are encouraged; don’t be afraid to make yourself stand out!

This feels kinda creepy, are you guys Craigslist killers?

No. Well, if you want to be techni.. nevermind. No, we aren’t. We just genuinely want to do something different and we don’t see any other way to approach it. What would verify our normalness? Facebook? Instagram? We can have a pre-date screening (interview) prior to the wedding and play 20 questions over a coupla cocktails if you’d like?

We’re IN! What now?

First off — smart thinking. Email us, send along some pictures, information, high school athletic stats, questions, etc. We’ll take it from there.

When the above posting first went up on Craigslist at 9:13 AM on February 13, 2013, Mike and Dave Stangle were the first to be surprised by the response it received.  As Dave points out: “We thought the only logical way to get dates that knew each other, that would hang out with the two of us, was to (put) this on Craigslist.  We wrote it, kind of thinking it was a joke that we could send to each other.”

With literally thousands of responses, the brothers had soon attracted national attention, discussing their creative dating tactics with Matt Lauer on the Today show and with Anderson Cooper on CNN.  The Stangles were, after all, only doing what came naturally. “I mean, that was kind of the whole point,” Mike says.  “We realized that people actually were paying attention to us and so we were cool for the first time in our lives.  For a neat little month we went on as many dates as we possibly could.”

“We did a lot of double-dating,” Dave confirms.


Jake Szymanski (Director) is a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and a graduate of the Northwestern University. After graduation, the self-proclaimed comedy nerd spent his time making sketch videos with friends and studying improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Los Angeles. In 2007, Szymanski was hired as Funny or Die’s first in-house director and continued on to direct Digital Shorts at Saturday Night Live for two seasons. He directed the HBO comedy special, 7 Days in Hell, starring Andy Samberg. The film, which premiered at SXSW, received critical acclaim from The Guardian, The A.V. Club, IndieWire, and more. Szymanski has also directed and helped create a number of award winning ad campaigns, including Will Ferrell’s Old Milwaukee Beer ads.

When tuning in to their back-and-forth banter, it becomes clear that the Stangles’ primary interest is entertaining each other.  If anyone else thinks they are funny too, well, so much the better.  Before long the idea of a book emerged.  Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (and a thousand cocktails) continues with the same volley of dialogue and ideas; Mike does a chapter, then Dave does a chapter and so on.

The real Mike and Dave even visited the Hawaiian filming location during production.  They made an indelible impression on the cast and filmmakers—and vice versa.

“I asked the brothers how much of the stuff in their ad was real,” remembers Adam Devine, who portrays Mike, “and they said, ‘Honestly, bro, like 85 percent.’”

While the filmmakers strove to capture specific aspects of the siblings’ personalities, the physical differences between the real and reel Stangles were striking.  “I want to say that Mike and Dave are around 11 feet tall,” Devine notes.  “They made me and Zac Efron [who plays Dave] feel like little elf people.”

Aong with its R-rated humor, Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates has unexpected moments of heart.  Jake Szymanski, who makes his feature directorial debut after helming hilarious short form comedies on Funny or Die, says:  “The Stangle family is very tightly-knit, even when they disagree.  They’re very proud of being Stangles, so they’re just trying to have one family event that doesn’t get completely screwed up by Mike and Dave.”

The core of the film’s comedy and much of its heart is the brotherly bond between the two guys.  “Mike and Dave are close,” states Szymanski.  “They’ve grown up together, still live together, work together, party together, and ultimately learn some lessons together.”