Tired of romantic comedies where you actually like the main characters? Exhausted by people acting in rational and/or intelligent fashion? Ready for a movie where you smile contentedly when the leading man gets punched in the face? Then “That Awkward Moment” might just be the film for you.
An inept and irritating romantic comedy, “That Awkward Moment” stars Zac Efron as Jason, an urban hipster pretty boy, with hair stolen from One Direction. He and his best friends… sorry, best buds Mikey (Michael B. Jordan) and Daniel (Miles Teller) make a pact to stay single and play the field together after Mikey’s wife (Jessica Lucas) divorces him to marry her attorney/lover. Of course, this plan meets complications, as Jason finds himself unexpectedly falling for Ellie (Imogen Poots), Daniel winds up in the sack with his female “wing man” Chelsea (MacKenzie Davis), and Mikey can’t get over his ex-wife and keeps working at re-uniting with her.
Sounds like a sure thing, with a set-up and sensibility swiped from any number of earlier films that kept their wits about them. But there is so little that works here, so clumsy and juvenile is both the comedy and the romance, and so cynical about what its audience will buy into. It’s a real toothache of a movie.
Efron and Teller seem to understand what makes their cretinous characters tick, and play them exactly as written, as contemporary man-child horn dogs rendered in strokes so blunt and stupid they’d make Adam Sandler blush. Jordan’s Mikey fares a little better, but his storyline isn’t any more convincing. Though, as mentioned earlier, Mikey also gets to punch Jason in the face. This event, the only one I truly enjoyed in this terrible film, occurs in a remarkably contrived scene around the sixty-minute mark, and I must confess an intense desire to see that beating continue for much, much longer. Like, until the credits rolled. And on into the making-of featurette.
Writer/director Tom Gormican, who also co-produced the abysmal “Movie 43,” seems determined to play out some comedic scenes as if he was testing our patience in a cruel scientific experiment. Jason misreads the phrase “dress-up party,” goes shopping in a porn store, and shows up to Ellie’s wearing an idiotic pornographic costume. Does he take off the huge rubber phallus he’s wearing? Does that phallus eventually find its way into Ellie’s mother’s drink? I don’t think this is what Chekhov had in mind when he said if you see a gun in the first act, it has to go off by the third.
That scene is just one of many where people act in ways that reveal nothing but Gormican’s crude lack of invention, or inventive crudity, depending how you like your comedy. The filmmakers soft sell the smug misogyny underlying most of the bro-mance riffing, but Efron and Teller’s characters come off more creepy than charming, and the “happy” ending is as phony as the afore-mentioned ‘party apparatus,’ and a lot less useful.
The Blu-ray of “That Awkward Moment” is 1080p High Definition, in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. One of its few pluses is nice cinematography by Brandon Trost, and the disc captures that look well. There are options for English and English SDH subtitles.
The audio track is 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. There are no set-up options.
- “Threesome: More Awkward Moments”— the three male leads discuss their roles, and their relationships to the characters. These guys need to get a room.
- A set of mercifully short meet the characters clips
- “Moment of Truth: Behind The Scenes”— a self-congratulatory set of interviews with director and main cast.
- an extended gag reel, okay if that’s your thing
Like that summer job swabbing out restrooms at Burger King, “That Awkward Moment” is a film everyone involved in should just scratch from their resumes.