If you’ve seen the commercials for Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates – specifically the one where Audrey Plaza throws herself in front of a moving car to get Adam Levine‘s attention – then you might be surprised to learn that the film is based on a true story. But what’s even harder to believe is that the real events might be even crazier than the movie.
The film stars Levine and Zac Efron as Mike and Dave Stangle, two real-life brothers whose party habits were so notorious that they were instructed to bring dates to their sister’s wedding. (The theory was that they would be less likely to cause a scene – and flirt with the bride’s friends – if they had dates to keep them occupied.)
Since both Stangles were single at the time, they did what anyone looking for a nice, respectable date would do and made an ad on Craigslist. The post’s unique request, along with its hilarious execution (the real photo they used is below), caught the attention of local news stations, and before long the post went viral.
“You should be attractive or our aunts will judge you, but not too attractive or one of our uncles might grope you,” read a portion of the post.
Hundreds of single ladies responded and the ensuing series of insane dates formed the basis of their memoir, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates: and a Thousand Cocktails, which was later spun into a movie deal.
“If you ever get a chance to have a movie made about your life, I highly recommend you do it,” Dave tells PEOPLE of working on his first film.
“I fully support Dave’s first statement. It’s quite nice,” Mike agrees. “Especially when you have a bunch of people who are as into the ‘true story’ aspect as our producers.”
As for how closely the onscreen shenanigans lineup with their real-life escapades, Dave says, “What you see is what you get. It’s pretty close to true at least from a character standpoint. It gets a little bit over the top and away from reality as the movie winds on, but the general premise is true.”
For instance, the real Mike and Dave didn’t have a fancy destination wedding like Hawaii to lure prospective dates. The real wedding took place in Saratoga, New York back in 2013. Also, Dave notes, “Mike and I are not in as good of shape as [Efron and Levine], but we’re about as close as you can find for two regular guys.”
The other major difference is, as Dave explains, “In the movie, the dates we end up taking to the wedding, [Plaza and Anna Kendrick], end up getting completely out of control. That part of the story was not inspired by the dates we ended up taking to the wedding, but more on the dating experience as a whole.”
WATCH: Zac Efron and Aubrey Plaza bought what last on Craig’s List?! See details on their purchase and new movie ‘Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates’
In other words, while their onscreen alter-egos had to deal with Kendrick and Plaza (admittedly, a formidable duo), the real Mike and Dave faced off against countless crazy double dates during months of auditions.
“We had a lot of fun with the amount of ridiculous dates we went on with these crazy people from Craigslist who would respond to our ads,” Mike explains.
Both brothers admit they did not have much formal dating experience beforehand, so they ended up making strategy adjustments as they went along.
“After a few weeks when it really started going viral, we had so many emails in our inbox that we were like, ‘Why are we being such bro’s about this and only picking the hottest chicks, let’s go through and find women who seem genuinely unique and interesting,’ ” Dave says. “That quickly morphed into, ‘Let’s find women who are f—— crazy and go have these crazy experiences double dating’ – and that just spiraled totally out of control.”
Mike and Dave went on dates night after night for weeks, sometimes going on multiple double dates in one evening. “One time we had to ditch these two girls we went out with mid-date because they were acting like such lunatics, stealing stuff from the bar and throwing full drinks at other tables,” Dave remembers. Mike adds, “This girl ran after Dave and lifted up his shirt, latched on to him like a spider monkey, and bit him right between the nipples.”
On another date, they drunkenly hoisted a former cheerleader up the fire escape of a friend’s building, in hopes that she would be able to sneak into his apartment through a window. Unfortunately, their friend happened to be out of town, and the girl ended up stranded on the landing. Another friend ended up in surgery after the cheerleader “leapfrogged” off the balcony and crashed into his unsuspecting arms.
“I don t even know how to go on a normal date anymore, it ruined it for me,” Dave jokes.
Both guys are currently single, so if any ladies are interested in double dating with two hilarious brothers (who happen to know Zac Efron), feel free to check Craigslist.
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is in theaters now.