That Awkward Moment sits somewhere in the middle of these two extremes, being a mildly diverting effort that endeavours to combine romance, jokes and insights into the male psyche, all with varying degrees of success.
But this being a movie, the course of promiscuity does not run smooth, with Jason falling for beautiful and quirky author Ellie (Imogen Poots), and Daniel realising that he has real feelings for long-time friend and sometime wing-woman Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis). As for Mikey, he breaks the pact in the worst way possible – by going back to his wife.
So far, so predictable. And unfortunately, that’s about it in terms of plotting, with the film lacking the drama, twists and turns that a story like this would really benefit from. And while the jokes come thick and fast, too many are stale and contrived. Many of the comedic misunderstandings are preposterous, from Jason mistaking Ellie for a prostitute to Jason confusing a dress-up party with a costume party. Indeed, at times, Efron’s character doesn’t seem like the sharpest tool in the shed.
Writer-director Tom Gormican’s script is also a little too pre-occupied with toiler humour, and the Morris Chestnut and Judge Reinhold references also make you wonder if it’s a 20-year-old screenplay that he found down the back of a drawer.
But the film’s biggest problem stems from the likability of its main characters. Or lack of it. Miles Teller – recently so good in The Spectacular Now – delivers an amusing performance that at times borders on the obnoxious, making it hard to root for him. And Zac Efron’s character is downright unpleasant – a smug, selfish and self-satisfied narcissist whom you really don’t want to get the girl. Indeed Michael B. Jordan’s Mikey is the only palatable pal, but his storyline also happens to be the dullest, meaning that the film is something of a slog in the final third, when you really don’t care about who ends up with whom.
There’s just enough comedy and romance to make the movie watchable however, while the girls fare better, with Poots and Davis delivering endearing performances that will have you wondering why their characters are slumming it with their respective love interests, and wishing that the movie revolved around them.
- +Likeable ladies.
- +Good cocktail gag.
- +Winning performance from Michael B. Jordan.
- –Cocky and smug protagonists.
- –Too much toilet humour.
- –Boring final third.