Director: Tom Gormican
Starring: Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan, Miles Teller, Imogen Poots
Release Date (US): 31st Jan, 2014
Company: Focus Features
“It’s 02:18 in the morning in the middle of February. I’ve been sitting on a park bench for almost four hours. It’s fucking freezing.” – Jason
That Awkward Moment labels itself as a “rom-com for guys”, centring around three twenty-something best friends negotiating the trials and tribulations of dating in NYC. When Mikey (Michael B. Jordan, Fruitvale Station) gets cheated on, playboys Daniel (Miles Teller, The Spectacular Now) and Jason (Zac Efron, Bad Neighbours) decide to stay single, and get their friend back in the game. However, the boys’ fear of commitment soon comes back to bite them, as they each find themselves falling for someone.
The unique selling point about this movie has always been that it’s a “bro-mantic comedy” that guys can enjoy as much as girls. Despite the ridiculous name, for the most part, this is pretty true. First-time director Tom Gormican’s script portrays a pretty accurate depiction of the mindset of a young (horny) man, and their struggles with commitment. And while the tale is a little outlandish, it is possible to relate to the protagonists.
The highlights of the story are the interactions the three boys themselves, whose scenes together show great chemistry, and some genuinely hilarious man-child antics. While the romance plots are generic, they are also reasonably sweet and easy to get on board with. The character of Ellie (Imogen Poots, Need For Speed), in particular, helps to balance all of the testosterone on display, which can, at times, go a little overboard.
“I love the way she laughs. I love the way we fit together in bed because we’re the same height and our crotches line up perfectly.“ – Daniel
A large part of this movie’s quality comes from its talented quartet of rising stars. Efron, already a household name, adds a little more depth than usual to his character here – who, although douchey, slowly becomes a likeable but flawed protagonist. Additionally he works well alongside Poots in their entertaining, if a little clichéd, romance arc. Poots herself exudes confidence in her role, but is overshadowed a little by the three leads.
The standout performances, however, are from Jordan and Teller. Both actors look like genuine talents, and, while they aren’t going to win anything for this, expect them to land some Oscar buzz in the coming years. Jordan is great as the relatable ‘everyman’ here, and is the least obnoxious of the three. Teller claims the lion’s share of the laughs, but also shows versatility – able to go from being an arrogant douche, to sharing some heartfelt scenes with co-star Mackenzie Davis (Halt And Catch Fire) in an instant.
Direction & Tone
This is by no means an exceptional film, but Gormican still turns in a decent finished product. There is very little emotional depth or meaning to it all, but this does help to reinforce the movie’s light, fun, breezy tone. A lot of critics may call it superficial, and the often-arrogant protagonists may not sit well with some (potentially older) viewers. However, in the end, the movie ends up being more heart-warming than anything else.
- “Come here man” – Daniel; “Do not hug me with no pants on” – Mikey; “You’re right. Respect” – Daniel. What? I like dumb, funny movies…
- This movie unites Jordan and Teller for the first time before they appear alongside one another in Josh Trank’s The Fantastic Four reboot. As far as chemistry goes, things are looking pretty good
- The 5-year old inside me already couldn’t help but chuckle every time I wrote the word ‘Poots’. Apparently her full name is Imogen Gay Poots. Ehehehehe…
- I imagine this’ll be one of the more positive reviews you’ll see for this movie, which has received a mixed reception from the critics. That’s likely due to the fact that (a) I’m young enough to feel I can relate to it and (b) I’m stupid enough to feel I can relate to it
It’s not deep, the story is nothing new, and the ‘bro-mantic’ concept does eventually tire out, but it’s to the actors’ great credit that these potentially off-putting characters end-up being both likeable and incredibly entertaining.
Result: “Quite Good”