Film Review – That Awkward Moment
That Awkward Moment
January is commonly known as a dumping ground for movies and first-time director Tom Gormican dutifully ekes out That Awkward Moment just under the wire. Presumably pitched as a raunchy rom-com for bros, Moment follows the lives of three twenty-something post-college friends making their way through life and love in New York City. If that in itself constitutes a plot these days, well..here we have it.
Michael B. Jordan (Friday Night Lights, Fruitvale Station) stars as Mikey, a respected E.R. doctor who loses his wife to another man that also happens to be her divorce lawyer. Free-wheeling best friends Jason (Zac Efron of High School Musical fame) and Daniel (Miles Teller, The Spectacular Now) are determined to aid him through his time of need by swearing off dating and aimlessly cruising for some strange in the big city. Matters become complicated when both instantaneously find true love and then try to shield the fact from not only Mikey but themselves.
The trailers and TV spots running ad nauseum on such hip outlets as MTV and Comedy Central primarily focus on the raunchier aspects of the film, and while the two big comic set pieces are handled with aplomb (self-assurance is key when selling a good boner joke), anyone whose been exposed to the relentless advertising will be reciting the punchlines right along with the actors.
There is undoubtedly a breezy chemistry between the three leads and their goofy rapport is infectious. Jordan’s Mikey possesses a maturity (if wounded) that helps to balance the audacity and antics of the other two. Efron seems determined to shed his goody-goody Disneyfied image and if his upcoming dickhead turn in Seth Rogen‘s Neighbors is successful he just might be on his way. Disappointing, then, that the approach he takes as Jason is so dull and one-dimensional when not safely cushioned between the likes of Jordan and Teller. His scenes with potential love interest Ellie (Imogen Poots) continuously fall flat and the chemistry is severely lacking. It’s especially glaring when contrasted with the effortless likeability of Miles Teller. This guy has managed to wring big laughs and charisma out of roles in the most blecchish of projects (see: 21 & Over and Footloose). It seems his youthful appearance has temporarily condemned him but between last year’s sobering (pun intended) The Spectacular Now and the buzz surrounding his new Sundance hit Whiplash, the pickins may not be so slim in the years to come.
Despite Teller and a few decent laughs, That Awkward Moment is utterly disposable. The third act is especially poor as our characters’ friendships are thrown into major turmoil over a bet that was never clearly explained in the first place. To hinge your supposed plot on a device so worn out and badly executed is just bad movie-making. Everyone involved in this treacly drivel has proven themselves capable before and surely will again. In the meantime, how many days until February?
Side note: It’s clear in the end credits blooper reel how much fun was had on set and I’m sure the crafts service table was amazing, but come on guys, at what cost to us the viewer?