Director: Tom Gormican
Starring: Zac Efron, Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Imogen Poots, Mackenzie Davis, Jessica Lucas
Written by: Tom Gormican
Running Time: 94 mins
Release date: 29th January 2014
That Awkward Moment is one of those films that is so pleased with itself, it comes across as just plain smug. A bro-mantic comedy that so desperately wants to be different, it becomes incredibly clichéd and ends up like every other romantic comedy that has come before it.
Mikey has just discovered that his wife has been having an affair and wants a divorce. He turns to his best friends, Jason, a shallow, cold, womaniser and Daniel, a wise-cracking, loud-mouth. The three friends make a pact: while Mikey recovers from his break-up, none of them will get into relationship but enjoy the single life. Soon after, Jason meets Ellie, a pretty young writer who he leaves after a night of passion and spends the rest of the time regretting his actions as he slowly has feelings for her. Daniel, on the other hand, uses his best friend, Chelsea, to help him meet women until the pair find themselves falling for each other. What Mikey hasn’t told his buddies, is that he is trying to win back the affections of his cheating wife, while they believe he has been seeing a mysterious girl with glasses. Will the friends confess that their pact hasn’t work or can they carry on the lies and deceptions?
This is a perfectly acceptable plot. If only writer director Tom Gormican had remembered some golden rules: make your characters likeable and make the dialogue believable. Not for one moment did I believe a word that was coming out of the three males’ mouths. No man on this earth speaks the way they do. Long conversations about sex, women, sex, body parts and sex. Seriously, when was the last time a male friend of your announced that he used a cream while masturbating in your bathroom? It’s happening to me all the time.
It also isn’t that funny. There were one or two moments that make me smirk. A scene in a sex shop was reasonably amusing but that was the level of it. In fact, it was just plain annoying. Scenes of the guys wandering down the streets of New York with cups of coffee, commenting about the world with the frequent use of the F* word does not constitute jokes. Their lifestyles are impossibly sickening too. They live in lavish apartments and have wonderful jobs while frequenting the bars of the beautiful people. Amazing how clean the streets look too. where’s the graffiti? The homeless people? The litter? Not in this cinematic world!
So the cast try to make us laugh and go “Yes! Women are like that, aren’t they?” (No, they are not!). Zac Efron, who has moved away from his Disney/High School Musical phase, has proved he’s a decent actor and his choice of movies have been pretty good. Here, he’s made a mistake because the character of Jason is vile. He treats women with very little respect, has a rota so that when one breaks up with him (even though he doesn’t believe that sleeping with them is a relationship) he has another waiting in the wings. Zac, you are better than this.
Miles Teller must have watched James Belushi in …About One Night loads of times to research his character of the big-mouthed Daniel. With a witticism for every occasion, he even pulls Belushi-style facial expressions. Only difference was that Belushi stole …About Last Night because he was funny. Mr Teller isn’t. Michael B. Jordan seems to be the only one with an ounce of a redeeming feature as Mikey. You want him to call the mysterious girl with glasses but we have to sit and watch him make a fool of himself trying to win back his wife.
The girls manage to hold the thing together. Brit Imogen Poots does a fair job as Ellie, bringing a little bit of depth to an otherwise underwritten part and the same can be said about Mackenzie Davis as Chelsea, although you wonder why a girl as witty and smart as she could ever fall for a moron as Daniel.
By the time the end comes round and it has gone for the “awww” factor, you feel glad that you don’t have to spend anymore time with this people. Then comes the outtakes that look as smug as the rest of the film. As I left the cinema, I realised what the title meant. That Awkward Moment when you ask for a ticket for That Awkward Moment.