Who here’s walked in on an uncle clipping his toenails naked? Raise your hand. How’s that for awkward? Zac Efron, Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan star in That Awkward Moment.
Director – Tom Gormican
Screenplay – Tom Gormican
Producer – Justin Nappi, Andrew O’Connor, Scott Aversano & Kevin Turen
Rated R for sexual content and language throughout
Jason (Zac Efron), Daniel (Miles Teller) and Mikey (Michael B. Jordan) are best friends living in New York. Jason is the ladies man that seems to always get the girl, but is always refusing to make any committment. Daniel’s the fast-talking funny guy that has a good thing going with his friend Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis), who joins him at the bar to be his wingman, and Mikey is in the midst of a divorce from his wife Vera (Jessica Lucas).
Wanting to take advantage of Mikey’s newfound freedom, the three make a bet to hook up with as many girls they can load up on their “roster” without getting caught up in those pesky strings that come with a committed relationship.
That Awkward Moment comes from writer/director Tom Gormican, who was one of the main producers on Movie 43, one of the worst reviewed movies of 2013. To be fair, I certainly didn’t love Movie 43, and I didn’t even like it, but I was somewhere more in the “whatever” camp. That said, a Tom Gormican film doesn’t get me screaming, “Yes! Funniest movie of the year!” In fact, I actually had to Google his name to find out who he was.
It’s interesting that this film is titled That Awkward Moment. They could’ve easily put out a sequel immediately after the advanced showing I went to last night of me hardly laughing at all amongst a crowd of people yucking it up and titled it More Awkward Moments.
While the studio was trying to pass this off as a “chick flick for guys”, it manages to still ripoff every cliche we’ve seen from prior chick flicks. That’s fine. I’ve said before and I’ll keep on saying it. If a comedy wants to break the cliches, at least still be funny. If a horror film wants to break the cliches, at least still be scary. If an action film wants to break the cliches, at least still be entertaining. You get the picture.
This film’s not funny, though. It may have gotten a few chuckles out of me, but I could’ve mistaken those for coughs.
What a waste of talent. Sure, Efron gets a lot of High School Musical crap, but he’s proven himself before in films like Me and Orson Welles and the trashy but fun The Paperboy. Miles Teller annoyed the hell out of me in 21 & Over, but redeemed himself with a terrific performance alongside Shailene Woodley in The Spectacular Now. Michael B. Jordan has also turned in some standout work in Chronicle and last year’s Fruitvale Station. You can tell the three appear to have fun working together, but how they were able to generate even the slightest bit of chemistry without generating any laughs is beyond me.
What tries to pass for laughs here? Well, a recurring bit with Efron screaming at Teller if he took a dump in his toilet, which Teller responds that he didn’t, only to then admit that he did. What a knee-slapper that one is. It really wasn’t that funny to begin with, so I’m not sure why they thought if they kept going back to that joke that I’d cave and laugh eventually.
We also get a ridiculously extended sequence with Efron “misunderstanding” what his girlfriend Ellie describes as a dress-up party. I won’t spoil what it is, but it’s a moment that got a slight laugh out of me at first, but then had me rolling my eyes when he just rolls with it at the party. I know for a fact anyone else would’ve turned around and ran out embarrassed, but I guess he’s a moron. Even more ridiculous is how Ellie’s parents are somehow cool with it. I guess they’re hip like that, so we can get the scene where Ellie’s dad goes, “Hey… your boyfriend… I like him.”, to which Efron says in the next scene to Ellie, “Hey… your dad… He’s like awesome.”
Well, I’m glad you two like each other. That doesn’t change the fact that Jason is an extremely unlikeable lead (especially later on in the film) that makes it all the more unbelievable when he has his “redemption moment”, which involves one of the biggest chick flick cliches of them all: the “I’m sorry speech” to the girl you love in front of a large crowd. The crowd then responds with another cliche: the slow-motion handclap.
If you think I’m giving away spoilers, really? Jason, Daniel and Mikey are determined to hook up with girls and sleep with them a lot and not expect any commitment? Trust me, they’re falling for these girls by the film’s climax, which usually follows a big argument that temporarily breaks them all up, and then they’re really sad. I was checking off prediction boxes throughout this film more than Mikey claims to have checked off all his boxes in regard to his soon to be ex-wife. Good school, good career, what went wrong? He thought she was Mrs. Right.
Well, she’s having sex with someone else behind your back. Clearly, the feeling’s not mutual.
I haven’t gotten to the fact that this so-called “bet” that pretty much makes up the theme of the story has no time limit or money value. If there are no stakes involved, how exactly is it a bet?
What’s good here? Mackenzie Davis and Imogen Poots as the girls attached to Daniel and Jason respectively. They’re likeable actresses with pleasant screen presences, but they’re stuck in a crappy movie. To his credit, Miles Teller tones it down a bit from what he did in 21 & Over, and to be honest, the acting really isn’t to blame here. These are young talents capable of better things. The writing is just God awful.
The only thing that hated this movie more than I did was my left leg which started getting that restless leg feeling about halfway though the movie. Never a good sign. This film is only 94 minutes long and yet somehow pulled off the feat of making the 4 hour Gone With the Wind feel like the Steamboat Willie short.
You know it’s a bad sign when not even the end-credits blooper reel can get a laugh out of you. Bloopers during the end-credits are a cardinal sin for me, ’cause it tells me the filmmakers had no faith that this would be funny, so let’s stick some footage of everyone screwing up ’cause then the audience will laugh for sure. Well, I didn’t. Aside from a few laughs, this is nothing but toilet and dick jokes. How clever. Hey, expect nothing more in January. Help us, Obi-Febuary. You’re our only hope.
I give That Awkward Moment a D+ (★½).
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