A film that definitely lives up to its title.
Jason (Zac Efron) and Daniel (Miles Teller) are the type of guys that have never been in a committed relationship. Each and every night, they go out to bars to get drunk and hook up with girls. When Jason and Daniel learn that their friend Mikey (Michael B. Jordan) is about to get a divorce from his wife Vera (Jessica Lucas), they instantly try to comfort him. The trio make a promise to one another that none of them can get into a serious relationship after learning that Mikey’s wife has cheated on him. This is when three best friends embark on a journey of endless sex and girls in their rotation or so they think.
I am not someone who sugarcoats things. I honestly had very little interest in seeing That Awkward Moment after watching the red band and green band trailers for the film. This looked like another one of those films that we have seen so many times before in the realm of American Pie, 21 & Over, Project X, or any other mediocre sex comedy that has come out over the past 14 years. The film’s cast didn’t help sell the film either considering most studio films that these actors have been a part of have also been mediocre at best. The icing on the cake, however, had to be when I found out that the director/writer of this film, Tom Gormican was the co-producer of Movie 43, which we all know was one of the worst films of 2013.
Good news ladies and gentleman, That Awkward Moment isn’t nearly as bad as it looked or had the potential to be. There are several things about the film that I enjoyed, even though it was incredibly flawed and all over the place in terms of tone. The honest truth is that the film had no idea what it wanted to be or what it was going for. It felt like writer/director Tom Gormican couldn’t decide whether the film should be a raunchy sex comedy or a coming of age tale about falling in love for the first time. There are moments within Moment where you literally feel like you are watching an indie dramedy and then 5 minutes later it feels like you are watching a generic piece of shit that a Hollywood studio threw together just to make a quick buck and appeals to horny teenagers.
I was absolutely flabbergasted when the end credits of Awkward Moment began to roll. This was a movie that at times I hated so much, but at others, I found to be incredibly sweet and endearing. I haven’t felt this confused about how I should feel about a film in a very long time. What is particularly baffling is that Gormican wrote this script alone. You would think that with it being so all over the place that two people were writing it and couldn’t decide on what type of film to make. This isn’t the case at all with this film.
I think when the film went for the more touching and dramatic moments it really shrived. In those moments, the film came off almost as if it was playing as a homage to classic Woody Allen romantic comedies. There are some moments in this film that are oddly deep and emotional that it feels sincere and honest. The comedy, however, was absolutely horrendous and about 97% of the jokes fall flat. There are jokes within the film where we learn that Mikey has an orange penis and that Daniel constantly takes a shit at Jason’s apartment. The jokes made me want to staple my eyes and ears shut. There are a few and I mean very few that earn a smile or a light chuckle. Jokes like the one regarding Morris Chestnut work, but those were so few and far between not to mention subtle that it feels like none of this film is funny at all.
Along with the solid dramatic moments, the acting for the most part was pretty good as well. I think the standouts were not Teller, Efron, or Jordan, but rather Imogen Poots and Mackenzie Davis. These two ladies showed up all the male actors and added some emotional depth to the film. I liked these characters because unlike most sex comedies, these women were smart and strong willed. Poots was especially great and at times felt like she was too good to be in the film. The females really held their own and kind of shaped the men in the movie. They basically gave them as well as the film the push it needed from being this really horrible film.
Efron and Jordan are fine in their roles and do what the script asks of them. As previously stated, when they are forced to do comedy, they bomb, but when their characters attempt to be deep they actually do a decent job. I was impressed with Efron the most out of the three male leads probably because I expected him to be the weakest link, but he turned out to have the best story and the most character development out of the three males. I will say that Teller is on the brink of being unbearable again in this film and I honestly don’t know why he keeps playing the same character over and over again. He really does play the same character that he played in 21 and Over. I love Teller when he is in independent films like Spectacular Now and Whiplash, but watching him play this generic stereotype is just painful.
All in all, there is a lot about That Awkward Moment that I liked and a lot that I despised. It is a mixed bag, but considering how sincere it was when it tried, I think I liked this film a bit more than I disliked it. I feel that the dramatic elements as well as the strong female characters really raise the film to be more than your typical 20 something sex comedy. It has its fair share of enjoyable and touching moments that I think if you can look past the sloppy direction and writing you will be able to enjoy the film than expected. It won’t be something I remember a few weeks from now, but for an early in the year release, I have seen a lot worse and I appreciated when this film actually tried.
MovieManMenzel’s final rating for That Awkward Moment is a 6 out of 10.