“That Awkward Moment” is named after a Twitter meme that has absolutely nothing to do with the film. It is a film that, on the most basic level, is a mess to the point where even the movie’s few good aspects are brushed aside in favor of trying to be a romantic comedy for guys without the comedy.
The biggest issue with the film is an identity crisis, in which it tries to capture a confused audience. I say a confused audience because I am not sure the audience this film wants exists. The movie believes it combines romance and comedy with a deep look into the “true” male psyche, but by the end falls into terrible clichés and gender stereotypes.
The story follows three 20-something friends: Jason (Zac Efron), Mikey (Michael B. Jordan) and Daniel (Miles Teller). Both Jason and Daniel are womanizing serial daters who prefer to have a selection of women to hook up with unlike Mikey, who is married. Early in the film his wife leaves him, prompting the three buddies to make a bro-pact to remain girlfriend-free for the future.
To no one’s surprise, all three of them quickly break this pact, as Jason meets a quirky author Ellie (Imogen Poots), and Daniel realizes he has feeling for his long-time friend Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis). Unfortunately, Mikey breaks the pact in the worst way possible—by going back to his wife, who cheated on him.
Unfortunately, this is basically all there is to the film, as all of the characters fall flat, no thanks to the horrible screenplay. I will not say that people like Efron and Teller are wrong for the roles, as they have both proven they can be competent actors, but their characters are so unlikable. For example, Efron and Poots’s characters’ entire relationship starts after a night of casual sex, during which Efron confuses her for a prostitute. This is just one of many examples of how unlikable most of these characters are. Poots and Davis are the only likable characters in the film as they are actually charming and feel like real people. It is just a shame that they get so little screen time. Michael B. Jordan’s character is okay, but it is a shame that he really does nothing within the film, besides apparently being one of two black men in all of New York City.
The jokes come thick and fast, but it is early on that you realize that the film has about four jokes that are repeated in different situations. The best joke comes about five minutes into the film, and then it is a fast descent into mediocrity.
It has been a long time since we have seen a great romantic comedy told through a male perspective (1997’s “Chasing Amy” is probably the best example of this sub-genre). But for a film that tries so hard to appeal to a male audience, it leaves a lot to be desired. Unless you are interested in seeing Efron and Teller naked, then enjoy!
I have certainly seen worse movies labeling themselves as romantic comedies, but the only awkward moment I had when watching this film was the realization of just how delusional Hollywood must be to think that anyone wanted this film.