Friday, May 16, 2014

That Awkward Moment Review

That Awkward Moment Review

If you have seen a single trailer or commercial for “That Awkward Moment,” then it may look as if it is a raunchy comedy. The film stars Miles Teller, who has made an impressive career playing the lady-killer, party types. That type of character is exactly who Teller is playing and alongside Michael B. Jordan and Zak Efron, they play three lady-killer, party types. Lots of alcohol is consumed, lots of women are used, and a vast array of raunchy situations ensues in “That Awkward Moment.” There are great situations, fun dialogue, and lots of adult content to shake a stick at, but “That Awkward Moment” is not what it seems.

Look, I am going to get this out of the way now. Because I sat down to watch “That Awkward Moment” with quite a bit of enthusiasm. I have enjoyed Miles Teller’s work from this point and he is easily becoming the best actor of his generation. Michael B. Jordan is also putting together a nice-looking resume and it’s clear to see why he becoming the go-to guy in showbiz. I think Teller and Jordan are going to kill it in the “Fantastic Four” reboot coming up. While I am not the biggest admirer of Efron, I can at least respect it when an artist gets out of their comfort zone and tries something new. In Efron’s case, he needs a new outlet badly, because the road he was on was cliché and tedious. But despite how enthused I was, I was flabbergasted and disappointed to learn that “That Awkward Moment” is a chick flick from the guy’s perspective instead of the girl’s perspective. What really sucks about “That Awkward Moment” is that it isn’t the cool, hip chick flick that can enjoyed by everyone, it’s the confused, sappy, cliché, silly chick flick that only a very small number of chicks really like. Mix that kind of movie up with a few raunchy scenes, and you have a confusing mess.

Jason (Efron), Daniel (Teller) and Mikey (Jordan) have been best friends since college. They live in the city together and they party together whenever they get a chance. As the film opens, we learn that it is going to be much easier for Mikey to hang with his carefree, womanizing best friends because his wife just left him. Mikey has taken it pretty hard, so Jason declares that the three of them remain single for as long as they possibly can, partying and hooking up with random women. The plan seems fault-proof until Jason meets Ellie (Imogen Poots) and he begins to question his need for a relationship.

“That Awkward Moment” may sound misogynistic and for a few stretches of the film, it is. But I think a movie about what drives men to bond together (or women for that matter) in order to support each other and their relationship-less lifestyles would be interesting. I can understand that people cope with the difficulties of relationships in morally corrupt ways, and I think it’s important for films to show us that side of life. It’s a perfect premise for a raunchy comedy. I feel if the film stayed on its raunchy side, it would have been better overall. But “That Awkward Moment” is determined to be so squeaky clean by the end of the film that all the dirty jokes seem misplaced. It certainly looked as if first-time director Tom Gormican had absolutely no idea of what movie he wanted to make, and it shows painfully here.

I don’t think I understand Efron. He has yet to showcase any real or raw talent as an actor. Even in a slightly dirty comedy like this one, it still feels like the ordinary Efron character in different situations. The scenes that fall flat are when Efron tries to be a womanizing asshole to girls. The scenes don’t work because Efron is such a nice kid in his other movies that we know he has a heart of gold. I was not surprised at all that Jason ended up having a heart of gold by the end of the film. Teller and Jordan do their best to make this movie count, but they are weighed down by their characters. Take Teller’s Daniel for example. Daniel has a friend named Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis) who helps him pick up chicks, while he helps her pick up men in return. By the start of the film, it’s painfully obvious that they will be a couple by the end of the film. “That Awkward Moment” is not shy about its normal chick flick clichés; they are worn like a suit of armor.

If you are expecting this to be a fun time with a group of guy friends, then you are sorely mistaken. “That Awkward Moment” adds up to nothing more a girl movie with the gender roles reversed. Add in some misogyny and you’ve got a stomach-churning mess. The worst part about “That Awkward Moment” is that a lot of the film is not funny. Even some of the big, adult scenes are shockingly humorless. If I can’t laugh at your comedy, you should not be making them. I don’t know what Tom Gormican has planned for the future, but maybe it’s safe to say that comedy may not be his bag. 

FINAL GRADE: D-

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