“That Awkward Moment” was just what the title implies – awkward.
Nonetheless, the story, following three 20-somethings as they navigate the dating scene in New York City, is definitely relatable. Providing endless entertainment and an interesting viewpoint into the male psyche, the 94-minute film was absorbing in a mindless sort of way.
With an all-star cast including three dashingly handsome young men, the movie is a surefire hit among women ages 18 to 49. However, believe it or not, “That Awkward Moment” has something for everyone, from laugh-out-loud, painfully comedic scenes to sweet, sentimental sequences that give a truly raw perspective into the characters’ unexpected emotional investment.
Oddly inappropriate costumes, horizontal urination and mistaking women for prostitutes are just some of the humorous and surprisingly mesmerizing moments riddled throughout the film. This hilarity, however, is interspersed throughout a drama that ends up triggering a deep emotional response because, whether we are willing to admit it or not, we have all experienced the innumerable awkward situations in which the main characters find themselves.
The chemistry between the leading men lends credibility to a somewhat flimsy storyline. The most well-known of the three protagonists, Zac Efron (“The Lucky One”), plays Jason, an overly-confident illustrator at a publishing agency. Jason’s friend and fellow employee Daniel, played by Miles Teller (“The Spectacular Now”), is ever so slightly more romantic than Jason, but not nearly as romantic as Mikey, the third and final member of the trio played by Michael B. Jordan (“Fruitvale Station”).
The film begins with Mikey, a constantly busy young doctor, splitting from his wife and turning to peanut butter ice cream to console himself. His two best friends, Jason and Daniel, refuse to let Mikey sulk in his own misery. Eventually, the three make a pact to all stay single together and help Mikey build his “roster,” a selection of women with whom these fine young gentlemen can enjoy some no-strings-attached thrills.
While Mikey tries to navigate his newly single lifestyle, Daniel finds himself oddly comfortable and happy with his best friend and Jason’s ex, Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis, “Breathe In”). Jason, on the other hand, falls hard for Ellie (Imogen Poots, “28 Weeks Later”), a quirky, artistic intellectual whom he plans to add to his “roster.”
Inevitably, all three men find that staying single and unattached with a constantly changing “roster” isn’t as easy as it seems. Falling in and out of love just happens when people aren’t paying attention and before they know it, they can’t remember what life was life before they met that special someone.
The three varying personalities come together to showcase exactly how young men approach dating and the ever-dreaded steady relationship. While the trio definitely ensures laughs with scenes like Jason showing up to a cocktail party dressed up as “rock out, cock out;” the film is actually a drama at heart. The dramatic scenes are on point and brutally honest. For example, when Daniel and Chelsea first explore the possibility of being more than friends, a relaxed conversation between friends quickly turns intimate in an awkward, yet familiar way. This scene feels uncomfortably realistic – exactly as I would imagine something like this happening in real life.
Though the storyline is enjoyable to watch, it is all too predictable, chronicling the same story that every romantic comedy movie-goer has come to expect.
Without giving too much away, the ending was lackluster at best. First-time writer and director Tom Gormican could have, and should have, taken a risk and portrayed reality as opposed to giving viewers the reality for which they so desperately hope. Thus, while the movie is, for the most part, accurate and relatable, there are certain aspects, especially concerning the courses of the various relationships, which just aren’t believable. In one instance, after sleeping with a girl who he believes to be a hooker, Jason leaves her apartment without a word and plans never to see her again.
Then, the next day, she shows up at his office to assist a client in picking an illustration for her novel. Of course the film planned to be ironic and facetious, but the something like that happening in a city as big as New York just felt implausible. This is just one small instance in the film where the fortuitousness of the outcome of a situation or relationship is not realistic.
Still, in the end, the characters all come to a few conclusions: remaining unattached isn’t as simple as it seems, relationships really aren’t overrated and scotch and peanut butter ice cream do actually make an irresistible pair. Yet, despite the “awkwardness,” you don’t necessarily leave the theater feeling uncomfortable.
Rather, it’s more of a sense of hope (however false that sense may be), that maybe, just maybe, the men in the world will grow up and come to realize that a relationship is, as Jason’s love interest, Ellie puts it, “just being there for someone when they need you.”
– By Annie McNutt