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THAT AWKWARD MOMENT (review)

Review by Caitlyn Thompson
Produced by Justin Nappi, Andrew O’Connor, 
Scott Aversano, Kevin Turen, Zac Efron
Written and Directed by Tom Gormican
Starring Zac Efron, Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, 
Imogen Poots, Mackenzie Davis, Jessica Lucas

That Awkward Moment follows three guys as they deal with what may or may not be real relationships.

Jason (Zac Efron) and Daniel (Miles Tellier) enjoy rotating through their ever changing roster of women whose time expires once they ask “so…where is this going?” Mikey (Michael B. Jordan) struggles with his sudden divorce and can’t seem to get over how his perfect relationship failed if all of his “required boxes were checked.” The guys vow to stay far away from commitment but of course this pact is broken quickly.

This movie is a date flick that’s not totally for girls. The guys make a bunch of repetitive poop and penis jokes and relentlessly bust balls. They’re over-exaggerated dudes – and I liked them.

The movie is easy to watch and outwardly has no depth. We get a surface layer of everything: the personalities, the friendships, the sex, a teensy bit of family, nothing more.

This doesn’t classify a film as awful. It’s adequate for what it is. No it’s not an Oscar contender, but I think that’s why I liked it. It’s brainless and silly and has zero intensity.

Perhaps I’m soft in this New Year, but it was refreshing to see cute guys and cute girls drinking coffee and beer.

The banter is amusing and there’s no denying that Efron, Tellier, and Jordan are charming as hell. Timing and script be damned, their presence is just made of charm. So I’m declaring that the surface is plenty and works especially well in this movie. I mean come on, the only evidence Mikey is a doctor is his scrubs, and Jason and Daniel work as book cover designers. See my point? All that matters here is the surface. 

I can’t go over the plot of That Awkward Moment because it’s formulaic and predictable but I thought it was entertaining for a ninety-minute movie. Zac Efron has transitioned nicely from High School Musical, I’m already a giant fan of Miles Tellier (The Spectacular Now, Rabbit Hole, 21 and Over), and though I haven’t seen Friday Night Lights or much of The Wire, Michael B. Jordan does gorgeous, sophisticated friend superbly. All that being said, the script was weak, there were too many storylines, and the direction was meh. So I give these actors credit for turning crap into not complete crap.

I thought the female characters, Ellie (Imogen Poots) and Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis) were awesome.

They’re the witty bitches to Efron and Tellier’s charming ass holes. The women play stereotypical male fantasies – they put out, act as wingmen, play video games, and drink scotch. Now I’ve been told I have a little frat-boy inside my lady body so excuse my bias, but I liked that the female characters didn’t interact with each other or have a group sob session with their girlfriends. I hope lady viewers enjoy these female roles much more so than the helpless damsels in desperate need of husbands, which is more typical in the Romcom/date flick genre.

Romantic stories are so often about the women (think of He’s Just Not That In To You or 27 Dresses). Now, the 30-something-year-old actors are no longer believable as idealistic, star-eyed, romance seekers (Katherine Heigl is tired, and Matthew McConaughey moved toward award-worthy material).  Teenage love is taken care of through Stephanie Meyers’ material in place of bet-driven cheese-fests such as She’s All That and 10 Things I Hate About You. Romances featuring older lovers are heartbreakingly beautiful, depressing, or too goofy (Her, Revolutionary Road, It’s Complicated).

Romantic/date movies need to find their place in this generation. Maybe resembling something close to The Spectacular Now, but not as somber, and with mid-twenty-year-old actors playing mid-twenty-year-old characters. Can you imagine what Jennifer Lawrence and Miles Tellier could do together?

I hope That Awkward Moment is a baby step towards films that capture twenty-somethings accurately, genuinely. A genre somewhere between 21 and Over and Girls, where debauchery is reasonable, life is messy and uncertain, and happily ever afters are cherished rarities.

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