Article By: Dan Clark
When you look at the formula That Awkward Moment has crafted it should, for all intents and purposes, work. Taking the concept of three close friends attempting to solve the multifarious mystery of relationships that is normally found in stereotypical Romantic Comedies and inserting characters that you would more customarily associate with raunchier comedic affairs does have a certain level of appeal. What it lacks in ambition and originality it makes up for in fluidity. These two worlds could easily coexist with one another. This mixture does have a potential to yield something fresh for a static genre, however this Bro Rom-Com ends up being not much more than your standard venture with a smattering of different flavoring.
Unquestionably what allows the film to work on any level is the power of the three charismatic leads. Zac Efron, Miles Teler, and Michael B. Jordan play three close friends living up life in New York. After Jordan’s character discovers his wife has commented adultery and is asking for a divorce they form a pact and promise that they will not get into any type of formal relationship. Unbeknownst to them that promise will be harder to keep than they ever imagined and it will test the lengths of their friendship. They all thought they had life figured out but a series of unplanned events makes them reevaluate who they truly are.
Again, it is the type of story we know and sometimes get tired and sometimes love. Efron and Teler play those stereotypical guys who never want to get into serious relationships. They are all about building a ‘roster’ of girls to sleep with, but once the word ‘So…’ is mentioned they are off the roster to be replaced by a player to be named later. In their minds nothing good follows that word. Questions like, “So where is this going” or “So where do you see us” are questions that can get them into a relationship they have no desire to be in. This is a prime example of how even when the film attempted to adjust a common trope the spin would be pedestrian adjustment of the norm. It approached it as an enlightened stance on a guy’s mindset, but similar ideas have been tackled on multiple occasions.
Although, even a joke you heard before can still be funny if the person delivering it is talented enough to make it work. Director and screen writer Tom Gormican clearly relied heavily on his three main leads to bring some life to the project. All three share tremendous chemistry. It is apparent they are having a good time making the movies, and their friendship at least appears genuine. That enjoyment does seep through for much of the film. At times it feels like you are just hanging out with the guys having a few laughs. Teler in particular brought a larger than life persona that made him a comedic standout.
Efron is moving closer and closer to removing that teen idol image that has followed him since his life as a Disney star. The issue is his character is the least interesting, yet it is the one we follow the most. He is the typical self-involved macho type constantly on the lookout for another exciting sexual escapade. On the other hand Michael B. Jordan is dealing with serious life issues like divorce, but he is tossed aside to focus on the more superficial.
As one would expect these plans to stay single hit a big of a snag when the right women enter the picture. Imogen Poots plays Efron love interest and they too share a decent amount of chemistry. The film desperately wants her to be more than just your archetypal love interest it just never comes into fruition. It begins with their first encounter that tries to be clever, but ends up being…well…just awkward. Their relationship wasn’t void of entertainment as a misinterpreted birthday party leads to one of the best moments of the film. It was simply more of the same.
When you have a movie like, That Awkward Moment, which you are constantly ahead of and are waiting to catch up with you the key factor becomes—is it entertaining enough to overcome those shortcomings? The answer to that question is…slightly. That Awkward Moment is perhaps less than the sum of its parts, but there are enough laughs and enjoyable moments to circumvent most of the glaring issues. Considering the genre and movie environment we are in you can do much worse.