That Awkward Moment (2014)

That-Awkward-Moment-posterBy: Jenna Zine (Four Beers) –
How many beers do you recommend for this movie?
1 Beer! A Toast! Great Movie!2 Beers! Good Movie!3 Beers! Okay Movie!4 Beers! Mediocre Movie!5 Beers! Awful Movie!6-Pack! Bad movie! Do not be Sober!

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Best friends Jason and Daniel take a pledge to remain single in order to support Mikey, who’s been suddenly dumped by his wife. The pact is threatened in short order when they each meet women who are perfect for them. Can they hide their blossoming romances from each other, or will their friendship be forever changed? Rest assured, hijinks ensue!

A Toast

You know what’s awkward? Being the only person in the movie theater during a matinee. And I mean the only person. Not a small smattering of folks; just my notebook and me. It was actually a little unnerving. And does it bode well for the movie I was sent to review? Most likely not – especially given that the film just opened days before. Sure, the fact that it was Super Bowl Sunday may have accounted for the ghost town vibe. But is there really a huge overlap between football fanatics and Zac Efron fans? My guess is no.

However this is the toast section, so I’ll kick it off with something positive. And that would be a nod to ladies. Though That Awkward Moment is a bromance vehicle for Zac Efron (Jason), Miles Teller (Daniel), and Michael B. Jordan (Mikey), it’s the engaging women that make this flick interesting. Imogen Poots is Ellie, love interest to Efron’s Jason, and it’s clear that she’s more than his match. Mackenzie Davis is great as Chelsea, Daniel’s “wingman” turned girlfriend, and Jessica Lucas is smokin’ hot as Vera, Mikey’s wandering wife. I appreciated that the female leads were so strong and it made for a more believable storyline.

imogen

My casual ponytail and hipster bangs rule this joint, bitches. 

Beer Two

That said… I assume the viewer is supposed to be rooting for the male leads and I didn’t find myself doing that. Zac Efron is likable enough, but he’s still more of an appetizer than a meal when it comes to leading men. He’s really working overtime at being “the guy” here. I’m not sure what Michael B. Jordan is doing in this. He should be off winning an Oscar for Fruitvale Station, but instead he was passed over for a nomination and we find him here, acting beneath his means in this rom com. And I personally can’t stand Miles Teller. His one-liners are more annoying than witty and he certainly doesn’t have the panache to pull off his over-the-top ego. Also someone needs to tell him he is not John Cusack.

john jonah miles

John Cusack is the end all, be all. Everyone else can back the fuck up. [Photo Credit]

Beer Three

The movie suffers from Friends disease. As in, how are their lifestyles even remotely possible? Somehow these twenty-something’s have wildly successful careers and are outfitted with tony apartments that only funders (hedge and trust) could possibly afford. Jason and Daniel’s jobs are especially baffling. Does designing book covers together really allow one to reside in such splendor in present-day New York City? If so, I’m packing my bags! Meanwhile Mikey is a doctor who works in the ER – though he has plenty of time to hang out with his bros and never seems to carry the weight of such a stressful job. Even more jarring is their banter, which seems better suited for teenage boys. I had a hard time buying these guys as adults. Especially when these adults lay prone on toilets to pee after taking Viagra.

zac efron toilet

Didn’t I see this trick in Mission: Impossible? 

Beer Four

But they are men! And they like to remind the audience of that at every turn. They dominate at drinking (Bulleit Rye*, featured prominently and frequently), bar hopping, bedding babes on their “rosters,” and putting the olds in their place. Yes, anyone with a remote whiff of seniority is treated with mild curiosity, mixed with disdain, before being dispatched by one of Daniel’s snappy entendres. One older coworker (Josh Pais as Fred) is constantly reduced to a stuttering mess in the face of these hot young studs. His nervousness is so ridiculous it’s hard to believe that he’d even be employed, but it’s clear that he just can’t handle himself in the face of such self-assuredness. Because he’s old. Get it?

As Jason mentions, “They say we’re the selfish generation.” There’s no follow up – that’s just the statement and there’s not much here to dispute it. Selfishness is surely entertaining for the person who’s being selfish – but not so much for those hanging on the sidelines, waiting to get a little something back.

Verdict 

a4Beers

It’s fairly harmless and there’s certainly worse dreck out there – but there are more than a few missed opportunities in a film that promised a lot more fun than it delivered.

 

Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Jason explains his “So…” theory.

Take a Drink: every time Daniel takes a shit at Jason’s apartment. (Sorry, but it’s a running gag. No pun intended.)

Take a Drink: every time the boys bust out the whiskey* and ice cream. (*Referred to as scotch in the film. Come on – you’re holding the freaking bottle. Can you not read? Purists are frustrated with you!)

Take a Drink: every time you wonder what the girls could possibly see in these guys.

Bonus Shots: for every chick flick reference, the dramatic scenes, and the slow-mo roll when the guys exit the bathroom at Thanksgiving dinner. Never has a jacket been tossed over a shoulder so stylishly!

 

Last Call

A few entertaining blooper scenes are entwined with the beginning of the credits, but nothing else after those wrap.

About Jenna Zine

Jenna Zine is a writer, unashamed Bachelor franchise live-tweeter (with Felix Felicis at @2Girls1Recap), lapsed drummer, and occasional standup comic. She's probably somewhere right now complaining about her bangs. Find more at www.jennazine.com

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