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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘That Awkward Moment’ film is an awkward moment

    A twenty-something man-child who can’t decide whether to grow up and pursue true emotion or continue gallivanting from one night stand to one night stand: For the college crowd, this surely sounds like a premise that hits close to home. Unfortunately, “That Awkward Moment” doesn’t explore this premise honestly, nor is it funny, resulting in an all too clichéd rom-com.

    “That Awkward Moment” revolves around the exploits of three New York City bros: Jason (Zac Efron), Mikey (Michael B. Jordan) and Daniel (Miles Teller).

    After a shift at the hospital, Mikey comes home to find his wife waiting for him with a divorce lawyer (who she also happens to be sleeping with). Jason and Daniel suggest that the three friends remain single. It’s hard to see why this is such a revelation, as these two men were perfectly content chasing tail while their friend was linked to the ol’ ball and chain. This pact is apparently supposed to last forever, with an end goal of the three amigos dying eligible bachelors.

    Just as soon as they decide that the single life is the only life for them, they all meet who will surely be that “special someone” and develop these icky, gross things called “feelings.” Jason falls for Ellie (Imogen Poots), Daniel falls for Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis) and Mikey falls back in love with Vera (Jessica Lucas), his wife.

    The film cannot decide whether to be a drama or a comedy, however, it fails on both fronts. Efron’s character initially strikes up a conversation with Poots’ character by ironically laying out the future once she accepts a drink at a bar: She’ll go home with him, meet his friends, meet his parents, she’ll never be pretty enough for them and yada, yada, yada. It’s supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, the character slyly commenting on the formulaic routine of young relationships.

    Of course, this romantic comedy is as formulaic and hollow as they come, failing to strike any sort of dramatic note. Beat for beat, you can predict what will happen. That wouldn’t be such a terrible thing, as most rom-coms are predictable, except that this one thinks it’s doing something smart and new.

    While the drama is clichéd, the humor fares a touch better. There are some legitimate laugh-out-loud moments that mostly come from the charm and chemistry of the leads and not the writing. For example, one of the running jokes throughout the movie is that Daniel always “takes a shit” whenever he’s over at Jason’s man-pad, a typical fortress of insecure bachelorhood, complete with a “no relationships” sign with backwards “R” on the front door. OK, that’s not actually true, but you get the idea. I’m fairly well-versed in the politics of twenty-something guys, and taking a dump at a buddy’s house isn’t that big of a deal. The director’s trying to capture the unique back-and-forth between single guys in their twenties, but it feels forced.

    The actors would be this movie’s only saving graces, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that they save anything at all. The efforts of Efron, Jordan, Teller, Poots and Davis imbue the film with a bit of charm. The chemistry between Teller and Davis is notable, but Efron and Poots do not share that honest and goofy flirtation.

    Like our protagonists, who can’t decide whether to be single or in a relationship, and make the unfortunate decision to try to be both, this film falls in the awkward space of being neither drama nor comedy.

    Grade: C-

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