Jul 28, 2014

[Movies] That Awkward Moment (2014)

This movie initially made a lot of buzz on the internet because of a particularly unusual nearly-naked scene involving Zac Efron trying to use the bathroom with a hard-on. I have to admit that the sheer ridiculousness of the sequence rather amused me as well, but I didn't give the movie too much thought after that. And for one reason or another, it didn't seem to make much of a buzz after it was released in theaters.

So we finally watched That Awkward Moment on a bit of a random whim (and also to give me something to review today). I wasn't expecting anything award-winning, but I was at least expecting a decent enough comedy to help make things feel a little lighter after a busy day.

But the movie was just...weird. And the less than ideal dialog, pacing and character interactions within the first 15-30 minutes were already telling me that this wasn't going to be a movie that I was going to enjoy all that much. And that was more than just a little disappointing.

Synopsis: That Awkward Moment is a romantic comedy movie written and directed by Tom Gormican. This movie represented the first directorial effort by Gormican.

In a voiceover, Jason (Zac Efron) starts to talk about the fact that he has been waiting on this park bench for someone to arrive, but decides to tell us the reasons why. And thus we jump back to some time to Jason explaining his theory of the "So..." moment - that time when the girl he's seeing starts a conversation about where things were going and if their relationship was on its way to something more serious. And this is where Jason decides to pull out of things and quit early while he can cut his losses.

Jason has two other friends that he shares an apartment with. There's Daniel (Miles Teller), who works together with Jason at the same publishing firm. And then there's Mikey (Michael B. Jordan), who is a young doctor and he eventually goes to his friends Jason and Daniel given his wife Vera (Jessica Lucas) is asking for a divorce. Given the odd state of affairs of their social lives, the three decide on a bet of sorts to remain single. But naturally all three of them get into possible relationships shortly after that and they spend the movie trying to keep their respective relationships secret.

The movie seemed to want to combine elements from other romantic comedies and marry them with a sort of buddy movie concept akin to what we've seen in movies like The Hangover. But at the same time there was a bit of a desire to keep things rather low-key and not become an over-the-top comedy nor a laugh-out-loud romantic comedy. This unusual desire to stay away from the more extreme ranges of these movie types left the movie feeling rater dry and disconnected from its own emotions. And without an easier way to relate to the characters in the movie or even see actual chemistry between any of the characters as they were paired off really hurt things.

Of the three, it seemed the role of being actually comedic fell more to Miles Teller. Everyone else was just rather drab and monotone and clearly Zac Efron was holding himself in check for one reason or another. My partner speculates this is part of his greater effort perhaps to distance himself from his teeny bopper High School Musical persona that first launched him into stardom. In this case, I was really hoping for a lot more charm and perhaps an almost debonair attitude to help explain why he is able to bed so many women in this movie. Instead he felt like one of the more somber characters that he has portrayed in like a Nicholas Sparks movie given how infrequently he seems to smile or this odd modulated tone he tries to maintain throughout the movie.

The movie has a lot of the usual trappings of various comedy movies but then isn't able to put them together in a new yet meaningful way. There were many plot "twists" that were painfully obvious as the overall movie continued to follow the formula we've seen in other movies including "the lie that forces a break-up" and "the sweet gesture made in public to prove his love and all that jazz.

At least Zac Efron's shirtless moments were appropriately hot. I feel somewhat guilty about crushing over a guy as young as Zac Efron at times, but hey  it's a free enough world to make allowances for such things. And he even won a silly MTV Movie Award for Best Shirtless Scene or something.

For everything else, That Awkward Moment is only true to its title given the bulk of the movie does indeed feel awkward and ill-paced . And thus you're probably better of re-watching some of the movie's trailers that are still enjoyable and that's about it. Watching the whole movie is a bit of an unnecessary pain and so it rates as 1.5 moments of really bad dialog that is delivered as rote instead of as something with the proper emotions built in out of a possible 5.


2 comments:

el toro bumingo said...

Do you download movies from torrents, watch it online, or get the DVD from Amazon? Was this movie released in the Philippines?

Geeky Guide said...

Admittedly we tend to download more since internet quality is less than ideal for streaming. But for movies that we really like (and probably saw in theaters), we get the DVDs locally or we try to purchase the Blu-Ray discs online since they're less likely to have region restrictions.

IMDb indicates this was released in the Philippines January 29 of this year.

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