Twentieth Century Fox’s “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” hits theaters Friday, but the story of two incorrigible bros that inspired the movie is already the stuff of legend. In 2013, Mike and Dave Stangle posted an ad on Craigslist looking for dates to their cousin’s upcoming wedding. Why? The pair were told that they had to bring guests, otherwise the bride-to-be would worry about them harassing her friends all night. The ad was basically what you would expect from two twentysomethings with a predilection for getting rowdy at weddings: mildly amusing and more than a little misogynistic.
“You should be attractive or our aunts will judge you, but not TOO attractive or one of our uncles might grope you,” the post read. It was also slightly prophetic, as the Stangles offered “Royalties once our night’s story is developed into a romantic comedy,” something they estimated to be 85 percent likely to happen.
In no time, the ad went viral, and the Stangles were making appearances on NBC’s “Today,” ABC’s “Good Morning America,” and CNN’s “Anderson Cooper.”
They ultimately decided to just bring two of their longtime friends to the wedding, so as to not steal the attention from the bride and groom with their well-publicized gimmick, but the real story was just getting started. The Stangles began working with an agency on pitches for a book and movie deal. “For the book, they suggested we write down every funny thing that ever happened to us,” the brothers wrote IndieWire in an email. “We did.”
Simon and Schuster published the book, called “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates and a Thousand Cocktails,” in 2015. In a recent takedown, The New York Observer writer Dana Schwartz called it a “bad book on multiple levels.” The film has been met with slightly more approving reactions. It stars Zac Efron and Adam DeVine in a story loosely based on the Stangles’ experience. Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick play the guys’ dates.
Last month, DeVine described meeting the real brothers on set for the first time to ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel. “It was like 11 am and we were chugging coffee to wake up, and they’re drunk,” DeVine said, adding that later that night the pair were ejected from a jacuzzi for “making out with hot Swedish girls.”
What do the Stangles think of the stars playing them in the film? “Adam and Zac are just so much funnier than us,” the brothers told IndieWire. “And better looking, and have way more money, and talent.”
The Stangles reportedly landed a seven-figure deal for the movie rights, but they also wound up with something more meaningful: screenwriting aspirations. “We’re developing a screenplay that we’re crazy excited about and is also based on a true story,” the brothers told IndieWire, adding that they’re also working on digital shorts, sketch comedy, and a web series called “Meanwhile, On Earth.”
What are the chances that the Stangles parlay their 15 minutes of fame into more than just handsome book and movie deals? “I wouldn’t say that there’s a high likelihood of a second bite at the apple,” said one Hollywood agent, who added that he also didn’t foresee much in the way of new movie ideas coming from online postings. “Do I think the studios and large production companies are going to have interns trolling Craigslist? I doubt it.”
Until their upcoming screenplay or web series takes off, you can expect to see Mike and Dave at their regular jobs. Mike bartends five nights a week at Whiskey BK in Brooklyn. Dave also works in New York, as the director of advertising partnerships at the pet product subscription startup Bark & Co.
As of now, they’re both still single.