I like to consider myself a fairly weather-worn and seasoned movie fan. You can throw any kind of Jennifer Lopez, Nicholas Sparks or twinklie vampire movie at me and, no matter how much it burns, I'll sit with it and see it out to the bitter end. However, every once in a while there is a film that comes along that tests me so badly and catches me on the wrong night that I pull out my white rag, wave it high into the musty theater air and surrender the fight. Yes, I'm talking about walking out of a movie before it ends because it's so bad. My days without incident were probably in the high 300's until I saw That Awkward Moment and now I have to set it back to zero.
I left with probably fifteen minutes left in the movie but I can tell you what happened. I'll bet all the guys realized their frienship was super important and they loved each other and then Zach Efron's character makes it up to Imogen Poots' (28 Weeks Later, Fright Night) character by getting people to go to one of her author seminars and they live happily ever after. I'll bet you $1,000 I'm right and I swear to God I didn't see it. You know why I'm so sure? Because it's one of the most predictable, cliche, paint-by-number romantic comedies I've ever seen.
I won't even ding a rom-com that much for being completely unoriginal. 90% of them are unoriginal and the reason why is because the target demographic of 18-34-year-old women don't want it to be original because they want to see what they know they'll like...for some reason. What set That Awkward Moment apart from other mediocre comedies is that it tries so hard to be something that it's not by such a long shot that it gets embarrassing for everyone involed.
The movie stars Efron, Michael B. Jordan (Fruitville Station, Chronicle) and MIles Teller (21 & Over, Project X) as three early twenties, super successful professionals living in New York City that are the closest of best friends. There is such a lack of chemistry between these three, however, that it's believable that they met for the first time on set on the first day of shooting. You don't buy for a single second that these guys are friends and every exhausting second they're together feels contrived. To make matters worse, first-time writer/director Tom Gormican allows these three douchebags to riff and improv with each other like they're Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill except they're not even on the same planet as those guys. Swingers made it seem so easy to have a romantic comedy about guys in the dating world that was really funny but that was because it was filled with actors with real talent and skills in comedy.
As if all that wasn't bad enough, the icing on this crap cake is the decision to make it an R-rating and a fairly hard one at that. This makes me wonder who the studio thinks this movie is made for because there's absolutely nothing that an adult with an IQ over 80 would find funny and it's way too bawdy for any responsible parent to feel comfortable allowing their 13-year-old to see it. Maybe that was Gormican's attempt to be edgy but it's desperate and pathetic.
So with me pouring all this Haterade on it, why didn't this movie get an F? There are two qualities that kept it from that infamous group. The first is New York City which always makes for a gorgeous backdrop that forces itself to be a character in every movie it's feartured in. The other is two or three scenes that feature recognizable character actor Josh Pais (Adventureland, Teeth) who offers up the only laughs in the whole film. Actually, there is one more positive thing about That Awkward Moment; it's truth in advertising that with a title like that you know what you're gonna get...an awkward moment for when you realize you wasted your money.
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