Friday, July 8, 2016
You watch your mouth, Andy Bailey!
Typecasting is a pernicious thing. According to the very principles by which their profession is defined, actors pride themselves on being able to assume a multitude of shapes and sizes, personalities and proclivities. It's death to the actor -- or it feels that way to them, anyway -- to get pigeonholed as just one thing. Sure, that might allow you to get plenty of work from producers looking for exactly that one thing. But in the long term it's a recipe for career disappointment and early retirement. And not the good kind of early retirement.
As fervently as I believe this, I still can't watch the trailers for Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, which releases today in the U.S., and think anything other than "Andy Bailey, you watch your mouth!"
Andy Bailey is the cheerfully named character played by Adam DeVine on the show Modern Family. At least, I assume he's still playing that character, as we are at least a full season behind on the show. It's very possible they've moved Hayley on from that subplot.
Nonetheless, this is how I know Adam DeVine. He plays (or played) the nanny to Joe, the child of Jay and Gloria, and he's as squeaky clean as they come. He's so squeaky that his voice almost even squeaks when he talks. He's every parent's dream of the guy their daughter will fall for, though no daughter's dream of the guy they actually want -- until they get older, anyway, and nice guys actually start finishing first. He would volunteer with old people and probably sing in a chorus and dress like he's just walked out of a Banana Republic. He's that kind of guy.
And DeVine plays that character incredibly well. He's clean cut. He has an honesty about him. He doesn't look like he could hurt a fly. In fact, if he found an injured fly he'd probably try to take it to an insect hospital.
Enter Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.
That's the raunchy new comedy starring Zac Efron, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza and DeVine. I'm guessing it's a raunchy comedy with heart -- you can't get away with the raunch without the heart these days -- but it's raunchy nonetheless.
And DeVine is burdened with the lion's share of that raunch, if the trailers are to be believed. He's still clean cut, but any politeness has gone out the window. In fact, he tells a bride-to-be who has just received a facial contusion from the wheel of an all-terrain vehicle that she looks like the burnt waffle they throw out at the pancake house.
That stuff doesn't exactly conform to the definition of "raunchy." But how about this? At least in the trailer they've been showing here in Australia, he's talking about a sexual move that involves inserting an entire arm up a rectum and "pumping the pop," or something like that. (I'm at work so I'm not reviewing the trailer right now.)
And all I'm thinking is, "Oh, what happened to that nice young man who cares for that baby?"
I like raunch just as much as the next guy -- when it's done right -- but I guess I just like my raunch delivered by the people I expect to deliver it. Seth Rogen can serve me up as much raunch as he likes, the raunchier the better. Adam DeVine should keep the halo over his head.
Of course, if I were just a bit more familiar with DeVine's career I might not associate him primarily with Modern Family. DeVine also appeared in Pitch Perfect (and its sequel, though I haven't seen that). In that movie, which takes advantage of his singing abilities (you can just tell this guy is a singer), I believe he's a bit of a douche. If memory serves, he's the frontman of a rival singing group that thinks they're the shit. And DeVine personifies the team's arrogance.
So maybe Andy Bailey is the exception for Adam DeVine, rather than the rule. Maybe Mike and Dave's Mike Stangle is the typecasting of Adam DeVine, not the deviation. Maybe Adam DeVine was happy to get cast as Andy Bailey because he wanted to prove he could be a nice guy also.
Well, he's got one thing going for him that may just lead me to see Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates: he's an appealing presence.
Even when he's pantomiming sticking his hand up somebody's ass.