That Awkward Moment
The trailers for the film suggested that this could be more of the usual but it looked a little slicker, a little more thought through, a little less guttural in its humour and with a slight twist from the norm as it focussed on the three male friends rather than the usual Hollywood romantic relationships film.
So I wouldn't say my hopes were high but they were up a little from the norm. On the downside it stars Zac Efron, but then it also stars Imogen Poots and Michael B. Jordan, so there's a nice off-set there. I put my faith on the positive side of the film and stayed to watch.
I really shouldn't have bothered. Although there are a few moments that try and step slightly to the left of the norm, for the entirety of the film we are seeing the same usual stuff. Add to that the fact that we're seeing a lacklustre performance from one lead, another one who is following another comedy actor so closely in style it's irritating, and a couple of strong actors who are restricted by the standard script and flat characters.
My hopes started faltering quite early on as two rather significant things happen. The first is that Zac Efron swears a couple of times along with the other actors in a group swearing scene. Watching this feels like a moment that says this isn't a teen film and to sorely point out that Efron is swearing. Oddly he doesn't appear to do it again in the film and so these early moments really do stand out as positioning to try and convince you of the more adult nature of both Efron and the film.
The second is the continuing toilet joke about one of the characters always defecating when they are round at the other's flat. Now if that was the story it would be a little shocking and the characters would be right in pointing it out as a big deal, but he isn't defecating anywhere in the flat, oh my he's doing it in the toilet! Seriously, what's the problem with that? I, and others in the audience, picked up on this and mentioned it afterwards - who cares as long as he's doing it in the toilet? That's what it's for after all isn't it?
Without these moments the film does find a steadier path, it's just not that interesting unfortunately and treads pretty well worn ground with most turns in the plot feeling comfortable, easy and expected. There is some interest in the story with Michael B. Jordan's character where he and his wife, played by Jessica Lucas, have a rocky break-up and he is on the more unusual side of the story for a male character. Here there was something different to get a hold of but there just wasn't enough of it or enough depth, instead the concentration was on the standard stories of the characters of Efron and Imogen Poots.
Miles Teller appeared to be trying to channel Jonah Hill throughout, and maybe he's just like that, but it did appear a little strange at times and definitely felt tired. Meanwhile Efron breezes through his performance rarely seeming to offer much reality or depth to his role, something you really see during his emotional end scene which feels far from honest.
There was an attempt at times to deliver something a little extra, often in a comedy moment that was a little more incisive or real but again these were just too few and far between to elevate the film to any degree or to affect the audience's opinions. Plus the against type character decisions at some key moments were more than infuriating.
That Awkward Moment is a film that delivers just what it claims, an awkward moment that happens to last for almost the entirety of the film. Sure it has Michael B. Jordan and Imogen Poots but they don't get enough to do in terms of character or screen time. It feels like a lighter and more teen friendly Boomerang but missing all the points of relationships and men in relationships that Boomerang manages to hit.
This is definitely a light date film, a film you want to take your girlfriend to in order to give them the appearance you are a caring man, offering to laugh at yourself without raising awkward questions. However, if you are looking for something a little more serious, something to offer a bit more than the standard, and something you could actually enjoy watching, then walk away.