If the young women of this time have shows like GIRLS, then the recent post-graduate not-wanting-to-commit young men have the same through the medium of film with That Awkward Moment.
Starring Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller, That Awkward Moment serves as a “chick flick for guys.” Viewers get to see relatable characters, and, at times, not just for the guys. In one scene in particular, Jason (Zac Efron) having just lost his chance with a girl, seeks to “Facebook stalk” her. This is a definitive scene because it resonates with guys and girls alike in an age where romantic links through social media is not an uncommon thing.
The story follows Jason (Zac Efron), Daniel (Miles Teller) and Mikey (Michael B. Jordan) as three best friends living in New York. When Mikey is devastated from his sudden divorce from his wife, he, Jason and Daniel make a pact to not have any more relationships. Of course, the pact is difficult to keep when each are met with a girl they are interested in and have to keep it from each other.
Laughs ensue when we see how each deal with their “relationships.” Efron is the guy who’s afraid to commit to anything too serious and goes toe to toe with the enigmatic Ellie, played by Imogen Poots. Teller plays Daniel as the funny and charming best friend who actually instigates bad situations. Jordan is very much the voice of reason of the group as Mikey. He is the emotional touchstone of the film as he laments that “he checked all the boxes” of doing things right. Mikey is the little angel on Jason’s shoulder and Daniel is the little devil on the other shoulder. Overall, though, they all have heart and the story is realistic to how guys are. From the formulaic pick-up maneuvers to crossing that line with the girl best friend to awkward after-hook up talks, watching the guys in Awkward is like hearing about a real life cringe-worthy story from one of your friends.
That Awkward Moment is a fun enough viewing. There’s definitely laugh out loud moments. One of my favorites is a line that has to do with Finding Nemo. The buddy chemistry feels real and natural amongst the three leads, and it’s apparent in the bloopers during the film’s ending credits.
There are just some movies you see for purely shallow reasons. That really shouldn’t be shameful to admit since we go to the movies to be entertained in one way or another. Does it matter if we’re merely entertained by the attractiveness of the cast?
I guess for review purposes it does. Yet for a movie like That Awkward Moment, which practically relies on the hotness of those three male leads; well, hey, can you blame me for the enjoying the pretty-man-fest that paraded in front of me for a little over 90 minutes? No, you can’t. With so little substance, but some funny and crude jokes, That Awkward Moment is just another generic romantic comedy.
Zac Efron and Miles Teller play two up-and-coming young men, living up the single life in Manhattan. When their best friend, played by Michael B. Jordan, finds out that his wife has been cheating on him with a Morris Chestnut lookalike lawyer, the two make it their mission to get Michael back into the game. These guys are out having fun and living the ideal single man’s dream. After meeting and sleeping with a girl Zac Efron’s character was totally into, he freaks out when he takes a look around and assumes that she must be one of those “hipster hookers,” he had been told about earlier. Panicking because he doesn’t have “hooker money,” he sneaks out of her apartment. Of course, this comes to bite him in the ass later on, when the alleged “hipster hooker” is part of a meeting he has with a client. He explains his totally warped, pretty sexist assumption to her, but he is just SO attractive and kind of adorably awkward that the girl ends up getting over his rude assumption and meets him for coffee.
All the while, his friends are making strides with other girls. Miles is hooking up with his best friend and keeps denying how serious it is starting to get. Michael is lying to his friends, saying he’s hooking up with a new girl he met at the bar, but really he’s spicing up his marriage with his wife. You know that all of this lying and denial is going to end badly for them, these guys who promised each other that they are going to stay relationship-free. Especially Efron’s character who spends the majority of the movie being unapologetically selfish.
But because they are good-lucking, successful (somehow for millennials?) young guys, everything works out for them in the end. All it takes is a lessening of pride and humiliating pants-less walk across a Thanksgiving party to really bring them to their senses. Anyway, no romantic comedy ends on a sad, sour note, and frankly, with this kind of movie, you don’t want it to. One thing That Awkward Moment has going for it is the chemistry between the actors. You can’t deny how easy it is for Efron, Jordan and Teller to play with each other. It’s infectious to watch at times and made me wish this was a better movie. If anything, I know I’d love to see these three actors team up again, and not just because they’re attractive.
The dialogue (typical fratty/man-child humor) and barely likable characters bring the movie down, besides the conventional plot. But if you’re going for purely shallow reasons, then you have the right expectations for this emotionally hollow romantic comedy.