Guy-centered rom-com that resembles real guys and real truth, but doesn’t resemble interesting human beings. That Awkward Moment forces several would-be hilarious awkward moments, that belong in the stock warehouse of bad Jerry O’Connell or Seth Green movies, many moments falling limp. But I’ll give it this: Writer-director Tom Gormican might have a future. Maybe I’m being too generous with that, but at least he captures the single guys on the prowl scene with some tonal authenticity. The core audience, I know, doesn’t care about tonal authenticity. They just want gags.
I was three-quarters into the movie before I picked a favorite actor: Miles Teller as Daniel, the guy who is asked by stuffy parents if he’s good enough for their daughter, and says, “I’m the perfect guy for any girl.” Teller was last seen in “The Spectacular Now,” and he’s a natural born kidder. Michael B. Jordan isn’t bad as the heartbroken softie whose wife has made a cuckold of him, and is readjusting to the dating scene – or the idea of “scoring” again. And Zac Efron, isn’t that bad either, too. But somehow it’s just redundant watching him (or any actor) do the playboy role who realizes that he can fall in love, too, for good. The calculated screenplay wants us to cheer for Efron and Imogen Poots (as Ellie, the bookish girl) to fall in love. But in real life, all girls should clear away from this guy if they are really seeking genuine commitment.
Oh, but you want to know about the gags. Viagra pills that are too strong, going to a pal’s house to use the toilet and let it reek, people walking in on their friends’ bedroom trysts. Then there’s a truly memorable one, that I wasn’t buying. Excuse me if use the word unconvincing to describe a gag, but the “Rock Out with a Cock Out” costume scene didn’t work for me on any level. You must have an idea of the scenario: a dude is invited to a costume party, but mistakes it for an outrageous costume party, and arrives wearing something very, very inappropriate. Hold me down. I can’t suppress my laughter.
Sarcasm aside, there is good camaraderie here. Was I entertained by this movie? Sometimes I was, but that’s all I can say. I think the Teller and Jordan characters will mature into interesting people, but they haven’t made that leap in this movie. Efron’s character will continue to wake up with a hangover with different skanks week after week, probably doing that for another ten years. A good movie can be made from this. What I want to tell Gormican to do is to give these guys interesting backgrounds, hobbies, accomplishments. Because capturing the superficial will only take a movie so far.
94 Minutes. Rated R.
ROMANTIC COMEDY / COLLEGE TEENS / SATURDAY NIGHT SLUMBER
Film Cousins: “Beautiful Girls” (1996); “Sidewalks of New York” (2001); “No Strings Attached” (2011); “Friends with Benefits” (2011).