February 4, 2014
I have a feeling that the original title for this movie was supposed to be “So…” The “awkward moment” of the title refers to the point in a relationship when a woman starts a sentence with the word “So…” because it invariably leads to talk of the future of the relationship. This kind of talk scares the men in the movie and is supposed to scare the men in the audience. The “So…” theory comes up at least three times in the movie, and I don’t believe I heard the phrase “awkward moment” more than once. This movie can’t even get its own title right, which is appropriate because it can’t get anything else right.
The film stars Zac Efron as Jason, Miles Teller as Daniel and Michael B. Jordan as Mikey. The plot kicks into gear when Mikey, who married very young, gets divorced from his wife (Jessica Lucas). The commitment-phobic Jason decides on behalf of the group that if Mikey has to be single, they’ll all be single together. All three soon find themselves in potential new relationships and the question is, will they honor their pact? Actually, the real question is, does anyone care about the pact? It’s a somewhat valid question for the characters, but a redundant one for the audience, who will undoubtedly say no. The pact is introduced in the first act and not mentioned again until the third, where it’s a source of forced conflict.
Although it is Mikey’s breakup that sets the plot in motion, his storyline after he recovers is pretty bland; with him continuing to see his wife even though he’s pretty sure that she doesn’t love him anymore. Daniel starts getting serious with a plutonic friend (Mackenzie Davis) but is hesitant to tell others, maybe because of the pact, maybe because he doesn’t want the humiliation of telling people that he’s seeing a woman who is way out of his league. Jason finds he has good chemistry with a woman named Ellie (Imogen Poots), falls out with her due to a misunderstanding, has to win her back again, and then completely sabotages himself. This storyline gets the most focus because Efron is the most proven as a romantic lead. I suppose there is some charm to the scenes where he has to win Ellie over, but what he does to damage the relationship is so unforgiveable that I simply didn’t want him to have a happy ending.
The humor falls flat, consisting mostly of tired sex jokes, bathroom jokes, and jokes about how men can be just as emotional as women in matters of love. If you don’t think it’s funny when Mikey wants to pig out on ice cream after his divorce, this definitely isn’t the movie for you. If you do think the ice cream gag is funny, this still probably isn’t the movie for you because it never gets any funnier than the ice cream gag. There’s also an unfunny running gag about an off-screen mishap. It’s probably for the best that the gag can’t be shown, but the extended telling should have been scrapped as well. The best thing I can say for the humor in the movie is that Miles Teller gets in a funny line here and there.
There’s so little of value in “That Awkward Moment.” The scenes with the relationships proceed and run into trouble like clockwork. The scenes where the guys interact with each other are filled with a lunkheaded charm that, while tolerable, has been done better before and will be done better again. So… maybe see something else?
One and a Half Stars out of Five.
“That Awkward Moment” is rated R for sexual content and language throughout. Its running time is 94 minutes.
Contact Bob Garver at firstname.lastname@example.org.