That Awkward Moment

Mandy Griffiths

One of Moviehole's longest-serving contributors, Mandy has worked her way up the ladder from contributor to Australian co-editor. Also works full-time in publicity.

(also known as “Are We Officially Dating?”)

Commitphobes change their stripes and there’s poo jokes, something for everyone!

Meet Jason (Zac Efron): He doesn’t sing and dance, but he does design book covers and have of roster of women to have sex with, so I guess Jason is the big winner this evening. He loves his single life and going out with friends, and when one of his best buds is unceremoniously dumped, he’ll take one for the team and…stay single. Even when he meets and is immediately charmed by Ellie (Imogen Poots). Yeah. Good friend?

Meet Daniel (Miles Teller): Taking his life playbook from Jason, Daniel is all about designing book covers, not shitting where he lives (literally), and having a roster of women also, who he meets with the help of wing-woman Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis). But Chelsea might have a larger place in his autobiography, which means…

Mikey (Michael B. Jordan) Is the straight man. Checking all his boxes like a good boy, Mikey became a doctor and married his dream girl at 23, only to find out she’s been cheating on him and now wants a divorce. Turning to his friends for ice cream and comfort, he gets none of this, except a random pact that they will all stay single together, because I guess that’s how guys relate to each other…?

An interesting take on a romantic comedy since it only focuses on the male characters, “That Awkward Moment” is the writing and directing debut of Tom Gormican. While aiming no doubt aiming for the bromance/romance/modern-take-on-the-genre trifecta (and appealing to both male and female audiences!), the film falls short on two of the three (the chemistry from the three male leads is charming).

Despite being so up to date that “The So…moment” (the moment you have the talk about going from hooking up to a relationship) AND Facebook is mentioned, the film falls into well-worn tropes. There are a few shining scenes that demonstrate where this film could have gone (“American Pie” for the 2000-teen years?) but overall the film suffers from disjointed and odd pacing, misplaced gags and thinly drawn characters, despite the best efforts of the actors.

A real standout is Miles Teller (“The Spectacular Now”) who makes the most of every scene he’s given and lights up the screen with his humour and charm. He’ll have you smiling even when the film’s not working for you, and his sweet storyline with Chelsea as their relationship develops from friends to lovers is by far the most successful despite basically being the C plot.

Michael B Jordan is a star on the rise, but isn’t given much motivation or backstory to really shine, and Imogen Poots, one I pegged last year as an up and coming actress to look out for, is a refreshing female love interest in that she’s smart, funny and direct, even taking a hit when Jason thinks she’s a prostitute and promptly gets over it. This is no timid or klutzy or awkward Bella Swan, she just has terrible tastes in guys as it turns out. Oh, but I don’t think that’s supposed to be the message…*awkward*.  There are polarising opinions on Efron, but you can tell he was all in for this role, and what he might lack in talent compared to his other leads, he has a warmth and presence on screen that leading men all over Hollywood are struggling to generate right now, and I see a place for him in these films down the line.

“That Awkward Moment” tries to add something new to the romantic comedy genre, but just doesn’t quite get there. Better luck next time boys (and girls, maybe even one day the girls can be the focus).

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About Mandy Griffiths

One of Moviehole's longest-serving contributors, Mandy has worked her way up the ladder from contributor to Australian co-editor.
Also works full-time in publicity.

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