Film Review: ‘That Awkward Moment’ Another Dishonest Rom-Com

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – “That Awkward Moment” posits its cheeky hashtag of a title concept as one relating to when Friday night flings yield from becoming Saturday daytime couplings (to paraphrase Woody Harrelson’s wisdom in “Friends with Benefits”). But the film itself, in its low-standard glory, stretches this idea to a wider definition: that of failing, obviously and publicly, in a specifically non-cool variety of embarrassing. Thankfully, two of its main attraction rising stars have a few duds to spare - this film certainly counts as one of them. Oscarman rating: 1.5/5.0
Rating: 1.5/5.0

The problem for the film’s three employed New York bachelors begins with a pact, the kind of expression of brotherhood that has caused more problems than solutions in dude comedies of past (“American Pie,” “Wedding Crashers,” “The Hangover,” among others). Book cover designers Jason (Zac Efron) and Daniel (“The Spectacular Now’s” Miles Teller) decide to stay single to support their friend Mikey (“Fruitvale Station’s” Michael B. Jordan). This kind of camaraderie is shown to be easier promised than maintained, however, when all of the men unexpectedly start falling in love with the women they are initially casually seeing, without telling the others about their personal developments; Jason finds a soft spot for young author Ellie (Imogen Poots), Daniel realizes his wing-woman Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis) is attractive, and Mikey tries to save his marriage to Vera (Jessica Lucas).

First, there’s that awkward moment in which you have three talented young actors who aren’t able to BS their way through improvised comedy. Sure they may be game for some self-deprecating shenanigans, but it is remarkable how immediately the film’s fratty frivolity halts when it relies on them bantering, trying to create a sense of friend chemistry through joking around with each other. (Thankfully, Teller has a handful of funny lines.) Think Judd Apatow tangents can get a little tiresome? Watch these skilled actors (in dramas, at least) try to razz each other, constantly with the unpolished quality usually reserved for outtakes. Does this explain why the film concludes a numerous amount of scenes with someone calling someone else an idiot? I am not sure.

As for the casting of these three men in general, it is the name quality of the leads that prevents “That Awkward Moment” from being completely average and/or disposable, especially with Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller due to explode in T-minus two or three years. If these characters were played by actors more immediately comparable to Efron, “That Awkward Moment” would surely suffer more.

“That Awkward Moment” opens everywhere on January 31st. Featuring Zac Efron, Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Imogen Poots, Mackenzie Davis, and Jessica Lucas. Written and directed by Tom Gormican. Rated “R”

StarContinue reading for Nick Allen’s full review of ”That Awkward Moment”

Zac Efron, Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan
Jason (Zac Efron), Daniel (Miles Teller) and Mikey (Michael B. Jordan) in ‘That Awkward Moment’
Photo credit: Focus Features

StarContinue reading for Nick Allen’s full review of ”That Awkward Moment”

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