That Awkward Moment

Tom Gormican

BY Kevin ScottPublished Jan 30, 2014

The men that form the rotten core of That Awkward Moment are three young, good-looking and successful friends in New York City who spend much of their time in bars, coffee shops and fantastic apartments ribbing each other and discussing women. Before you begin to think that this might sound like another funny and insightful examination of the male psyche and their fear of commitment in the vein of Diner or Swingers, it must be said that this trio of superficial jerks is one that you wouldn't want to spend ten minutes with, let alone an hour and a half.

The de facto head douche of the group, Jason (Zac Efron at his most insufferable), is an illustrator of book covers at a publishing company where he works with his friend Daniel (Miles Teller). The two take great pride in their prowess at playing the field, with Jason particularly adamant about how important it is to maintain a roster of women from which one can summon companionship at a moment's notice. When Jason's roommate, Mikey (Michael B. Jordan), finds himself back on the market again after learning that his wife has been cheating on him, Jason and Daniel make a dopey pact to remain single in solidarity.

Jason's aversion to monogamy begins to slowly dissipate when he meets Ellie (Imogen Poots). After first sleeping with her and mistaking her for a prostitute in the morning, Jason finds his affection for her growing into something almost resembling a relationship. A night that the two spend at home playing video games and drinking with Daniel and Mikey seems to open Jason's eyes to the fact that women can actually be seen as something more than just sexual partners.

For Jordan and Teller, who had breakout performances last year in Fruitvale Station and The Spectacular Now, respectively, the decision to appear in this shallow comedy is a curious one. The sleazy tone seems calibrated specifically to appeal to fans of Entourage by way of Judd Apatow, which might work if it were funnier or more relatable. It's as if the film were made for young rich assholes or those aspiring to be one.

It has nothing to say about how men and women relate that hasn't been articulated elsewhere in a far more perceptive manner than this. The sudden crisis that eventually befalls Jason and Allie's union is one that could easily be solved by a little common courtesy and not being excessively self-absorbed. Furthermore, the film commits the sin of believing that by commenting on tired romantic tropes, it somehow makes using them excusable.

At least we know now what an adaptation of a Maxim magazine article might look like.

(VVS Films)

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