Movie dialog that’s Effed Up

My Father was offended by foul language.

He considered it low class and was fond of quoting Cole Porter’s lyrics from Anything Goes: Good authors too who once knew better words now only use four-letter words, writing prose.

Anything goes.

My Mother, who is less put off by cursing, spent the weekend at my place because her condo was being painted. We watched several movies on Kodi/Exodus and Netflix and it was on the latter that we found Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.

Mom was familiar with Zac Efron. I mentioned Anna Kendrick had been Oscar nominated for Up in the Air so we settled on what critic Leonard Maltin might have called an “okay time waster.”

And every second line of dialog seemed to be, “We fucked up” or “fuck that shit.” Or some variation on those not-so-better words.


I’m no fuckin’ prude and, while I will cut the screenwriters some slack, it came across as very lazy script writing. Maybe Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O’Brien (who penned the 2014 comedy Neighbors, with Efron and Seth Rogen) imagined the characters as illiterate lowlifes. That’s they way those people talk, I can hear Cohen and O’Brien saying.

And maybe Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates was marketed to teens and millennials, and the writers and producers figured clever dialog and somewhat realistic characters weren’t necessary to get that demographic into theatres.

I have a feeling audiences of any age want more. Tell me I’m right. Please.


Four decades ago, I sat in the Elane Theatre to watch The Bad News Bears and, of course, many lines from that film would be considered very un-PC today. Shortstop Tanner Boyle complained the Bears were laughing stocks because all the team had were Jews…Hispanic word, N word and a booger eatin’ moron.


And, when Amanda Whurlitzer is introduced as the new team pitcher, Tanner repeats the same list and adds, “And now a girl!” Amanda shuts Tanner up by striking him out in batting practice.



Mike & Dave and their dates had their moments, and the movie was amusing at times, thanks to the charisma of Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza. My dear Mother has a female friend who often refers to her ex husband as a “mindfucker.” Mom sat through Borat, in a theatre, with an older, now deceased male friend. My nearly 91-year-old Mother also has Wedding Crashers on DVD (she likes Vince Vaughn).

Even so, her reaction to Dave, Mike and friends was, “Why do they have to swear so much?”

I didn’t have an answer for that. I curse more than I should, mostly out of anger and frustration (I’d love to chuck my work computer out the door and see it flattened by a steamroller). But expletives are most effective when used sparingly. They have more sting that way.

Every Quentin Tarantino film is loaded with fucks, motherfuckers and such, but those bad words punctuate entertaining monologues. It’s almost poetic.


George Carlin and Richard Pryor turned the use of profanity into an art form and if you’re old enough, you can rhyme off the “7 words you can never say on television” (back in the ’70s, some are uttered today)…

shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits.


Every generation becomes more permissive and less offended. I get that. I have zero problem with that. Even though Fast Times at Ridgemont High…

Phoebe Cates, pool scene…

Where was I? Oh yeah, Fast Times was pretty racy for 1982, but it would have been unimaginable for surfer dude Jeff Spiccoli to make jizz jokes. Today, semen is mentioned frequently in the routines of Amy Schumer and Whitney Cummings and is no longer a movie taboo.

Back to Mr. Cohen and O’Brien. There’s Something About Mary featured a memorable jizz scene, and The Hangover set new levels of  R-rated movie raunch but both had original stories and well-written characters.

The less than dynamic duo’s next film is The House, with Amy Poehler, Will Ferrell and another Oscar nominated actor, Jeremy Renner. Guys, please give them more to say than “We fucked up.”




About johnnymaraca

sole proprietor of Maraca Media, former radio host (Johnny Maraca's Rock & Roll Riot), copywriter and producer and a print journalism grad.
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