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'That Awkward Moment' is unoriginal and clichéd

Focus

By Jamie Bircoll, Daily Film Editor
Published February 2, 2014

That awkward moment when the movie’s title doesn’t actually have anything do to with the movie. That awkward moment when talented actors deliver what can only be described as supremely unfunny, uninspired jokes. That awkward moment when the film embraces the very formula it tries so hard to mock. That awkward moment when I agreed to review this movie.

I thought “That Awkward Moment” might have real promise, that it might be a romantic comedy for guys that subverts the clichés of the genre while being, you know, funny. But alas, it wasn’t meant to be, as “Moment” fails to break free from a predictable plot and throwaway jokes.

Michael B. Jordan (“Fruitvale Station”) plays Mickey, a doctor whose wife announces she wants a divorce. Searching for solace, he turns to his friends Jason (Zach Efron, “Parkland”) and Daniel (Miles Teller, “The Spectacular Now”), book cover designers. In response to their companion’s predicament, the three friends decide to swear off relationships and stay single to avoid — you guessed it — that awkward moment when one must evaluate a relationship. Immediately though — later that day, in fact — Jason meets the girl who changes everything, and Daniel discovers he’s falling for an old friend.

It is through this premise that the film digs deep to raise such important, philosophical questions as: is it better to lie to your friends or your girlfriend? And is stealing okay and without repercussions as long as it’s committed as a romantic gesture?

The three leads are way too talented for this film — even Efron. The actors carry a certain charm that really makes one hope that the film might rise above its unoriginality and, one could argue, slights of misogyny. I’m all for crass humor, but there’s really no reason for any movie to spend a solid few minutes discussing whether or not a woman is, as they affectionately say, a hooker. Get’cha head in the game, guys.

But it’s not the actors’ fault by any means. Blame rests solely on first-time writer/director Tom Gormican and his incredibly lackluster script. Admittedly, there are a couple mild laughs here and there, mostly delivered by Teller, but certainly not enough to sustain, let alone warrant, an entire movie.

And through it all we are expected to forgive the tackiness and misogyny when our protagonists realize what it really means to be in a relationship, which includes the obligatory “I was a jerk, but now I love you” speech.

And what of the titular awkward moment, you ask? It’s more like a one-time gimmick that is introduced only to be ignored a third of the way through the movie. But the most awkward moment will be when you have to explain to your significant other why you thought “Moment” would be a good date movie. And I’m talking Tom Brady failing to score a high-five or watching “Black Swan” with your grandparents levels of awkward.


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