So... is this movie any good?
For a film that claims to show you how relationships work from the perspective of men, it’s amazing how few men can relate to That Awkward Moment.That might well be because the ‘men’ in the film are self-absorbed and abhorrently selfish, with no apparent ability to empathise with either gender. Zac Efron is a likeable actor who has been in some interesting films recently (The Paperboy, Parkland), so quite how he managed to saddle himself with such an unsympathetic character is a mystery.
His character is so self-absorbed and unable to connect with other human beings that he’d probably score quite highly on the psychiatric tests for a functioning psychopath. In fact he’s only an axe swing away from being Patrick Bateman; not a great start for a ‘romantic comedy’ but then there’s very little of either on show in That Awkward Moment.
Zac Efron has been in some interesting films recently, so God knows why he agreed to this mess.
The plot, such that it is, revolves around three friends, Jason (Zac Efron), Daniel (Miles Teller) and Mikey (Michael B. Jordan). After Mikey’s wife asks for a divorce, Jason and Daniel promise, out of solidarity for their friend, to stay single as well. Needless to say they almost immediately fall in love, the same night in fact, and start breaking their promise. It’s a totally unoriginal premise and for a film that tries so hard to be different, it fails on almost every level and manages to tick all the romantic comedy boxes along the way.
The women in the film are actually more interesting than the men but they still have to deal with a screenplay that seems determined to humiliate them. Imogen Poots plays Ellie, the object of Jason’s desires and victim of his appalling behaviour - at one point he even accuses her of being a hooker. She's cute and she tries hard, managing to pull off a decent American accent, even if she does end up sounding a bit like Scarlett Johansson. Mackenzie Davis plays Chelsea, the female best friend of Daniel and whilst their relationship hardly breaks any new ground, at least you kind of like them. Finally there’s Jessica Lucas, who plays Mikey’s estranged wife Vera.
The real problem with That Awkward Moment is that it believes it's showing the audience how men think and behave, when in reality the protagonists behave in way that's nothing like real life. The comedy is also forced, unsubtle and often just offensive. To give you an example, there's a scene where Jason and Daniel have a conversation on the phone whilst both are lying on top of the toilet. The reason for this is because they took Viagra before going out, which seems both foolish and presumptuous, and want a wee but can't get rid of their erections. Hilarious, right?
In another scene, Jason turns up to a party that Ellie is throwing in fancy dress. Aside from the fact that this particular contrivance has been in hundreds of other films, you have to wonder how self-absorbed Jason is that he doesn't realise that it's a more civilised affair. However, what's really terrible is that Jason's 'costume' consists of a t-shirt that says "rock out" and a huge dildo hanging out of his flies. Get it? Yup Jason has a level of wit that's on a par with Oscar Wilde. Even if Ellie's party was fancy dress, what kind of a moron goes along with a fake penis hanging out of his trousers?
That Awkward Moment is unfunny and devoid of any charm, which is a shame because it wastes a perfectly good cast.
That Awkward Moment is unfunny and devoid of any charm, which is a shame because it wastes a perfectly good cast. It’s also formulaic to the point where you know exactly what’s going to happen long before it does. The male and female best friends will obviously discover that they were meant for each other and if you can find someone willing to bet that the main couple don’t end up together… bite their hand off. The blame for all this clearly lies with Tom Gormican, yeah we’ve never heard of him either, who both wrote and directed this mess. You also have to wonder who the film is aimed at because it certainly isn't adults and Zac Efron's usual fanbase is excluded due to the sex and swearing - earning the film a 15 certificate. The completely empty cinema we saw it in doesn't bode well for the film's box office potential.
Frankly, That Awkward Moment is so bad that if you take your girlfriend or wife to see it, you’re likely to end up having one of your own. Just remember that at the end of the film, when she turns to you and says “So… is that what men are really like?”, the answer is “No!” Better still avoid any awkward moments by avoiding That Awkward Moment.
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