Starring: Zac Efron, Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan
Directed by: Tom Gormican (debut)
Written by: Tom Gormican (debut)
Over the past few years, it seems the market has been saturated with “guys will be guys”-type movies. Specifically, this is the type of film that typically features a group of men in some state of arrested development and tries to portray realistic conversations between friends about love, sex, and relationships. In “That Awkward Moment,” this archetype is once again explored, this time with a group of single guys shying away from relationships and making a pact to stay single.
Though they are in different stages in their relationships and lives, friends Jason (Zac Efron), Daniel (Miles Teller), and Mikey (Michael B. Jordan) find themselves in situations where they are questioning where their relationships are going. As two of them find themselves getting closer to girls than they expected and one becoming more distant, they must decide if their pact to stay single is worth keeping.
As far as the cast is concerned, Efron, Teller and Jordan often struggle under the constraints of a mostly unfunny script. This, unfortunately, also means that Efron is extremely inconsistent in delivering laughs as he displays some questionable natural comedic ability. Conversely, this also means the very naturally funny and charismatic Teller is the shining member of the trio. On more than one occasion, Teller is able to pull a laugh using well-conceived timing as opposed to Efron who relies on the written screenplay and the occasional bit of physical humor.
Like many similar films, “That Awkward Moment” comes with its characters presenting a litany of new vocabulary terms and shorthand that describe certain situations. This time around, the guys discuss the “so…” period, the time in which a girl will start a sentence with “so…” and question where the relationship is headed. This sets the table for a film that has a vein of adolescence running through it. It isn’t just in the lack of commitment by at least two of the three leads, but also in the seemingly arbitrary justification of their actions, which is to stick to their pact.
When it all comes down to it, “That Awkward Moment” feels sophomoric in many ways. The film feels unpolished, the script, while occasionally funny, is formulaic, and often times, the conversations between these friends feels either unnatural, forced, or just plain overdone. Teller, whose career trajectory will be interesting to watch, has his moments, but can’t save a poor script and a faulty premise.