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That Awkward Moment

Posted: January 31, 2014 at 1:59 a.m.

A young man’s determination to remain unattached wilts when he meets magazine publisher Ellie (Imogen Poots) in That Awkward Moment.

The title of That Awkward Moment is supposed to refer to the instant when a man discovers that he and the woman in front of him have to decide if they really are an item. Instead, it’s about the realization that one has paid full price for an anemic comedy that’s short on situations that are believable or interesting.

It’s probably a feather in writer-director Tom Gormican’s hat that he has made a film that’s phony and tedious. He even achieves a sort of trifecta by loading the film with raunchy wisecracks and sight gags that elicit more groans than chuckles.

It probably doesn’t help that Gormican has laid a weak foundation for all the relationships in the film. A book-cover designer named Jason (Zac Efron) has had a one-night stand with a woman he has mistaken for a hooker, while his lifelong pal Mikey ( Michael B. Jordan) is ambushed by his wife, Vera (Jessica Lucas), demanding a divorce. Throughout all of this their parasite friend Daniel (Miles Teller) is either taunting them with vulgar wisecracks or worse.

Because lasting romance seems out of the cards for this trio, Gormican, who is one of the minds behind the dreaded Movie 43, has them take a vow that only characters in movies make.

The three pledge not to commit to any single woman, and to even build “rosters” of bed buddies. For the sake of the gene pool, we can be grateful these dim lads make little progress in their amorous quests. Jason discovers the woman (Imogen Poots) he has bedded is actually the author of the one of the books he has decorated, while Daniel is pining for fellow barfly (Mackenzie Davis) he has known forever. Mikey even seems to be finding a way to work his way back into Vera’s heart.

Gormican’s idea of a dynamic relationship is one where the man either offends a woman or bails on her at a key moment and still wins her long-term affection in the end. Considering the fact that the film is set in New York, it’s a safe bet a real woman would bail on any of these losers in favor of millions of other options.

Gormican seems so happy with his achievement that includes a blooper reel during the closing credits. This wouldn’t normally be a problem, but his weak, if randy dialogue fails to improve through repetition or through actors ad libbing or bumbling the text.

That Awkward Moment 72 Cast: Zac Efron, Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Imogen Poots, Mackenzie Davis, Jessica Lucas, Addison Timlin Director: Tom Gormican Rating: R, for sexual content and language Running time: 94 minutes

MovieStyle, Pages 33 on 01/31/2014

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