The 400 Word Review: That Awkward Moment
By Sean Collier
February 3, 2014
Whatever the pitch was that led to That Awkward Moment, the limp romcom from first-time writer/director Tom Gormican, it contained at least one wildly off-base idea.
It might’ve gone like this: “It’s Sex and the City for dudes!” See, That Awkward Moment follows a trio of 20-something lads (all with impossibly high-paying jobs and spacious apartments) around a dreamily-rendered New York as they drink, flirt and chat. Sound like anything you’ve seen before? In fact, That Awkward Moment apes the style of Carrie Bradshaw and company at nearly every turn. Of course, the format and tone was designed for women of the ’90s, not manchildren of the ’10s, so this is what we would call a bad idea.
That Awkward Moment also might’ve risen from some half-brained calculus and a great deal of stereotyping. If you’re a certain sort of Hollywood producer, you might reason that ladies are always trying to get dudes to go to date movies, but sometimes dudes talk them out of it. So why not make the date movie about dudes? Like the very dudes that won’t go to see a date movie!
Trouble is, neither the bros depicted (played by Zac Efron, Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan — and those last two shouldn’t be slumming it like this) nor their significant others (Imogen Poots, Mackenzie Davis and Jessica Lucas) are realistic, let alone sympathetic. The only benefit That Awkward Moment presents to a young couple on a date is as cautionary example.
My pet theory is that this script was conceived about just one relationship, that of Daniel (Teller) and Chelsea (Davis). The two performers are the most likable of their respective trios, and the story is the most fleshed-out: they’re buddy types, platonic to the point that Chelsea accompanies Daniel to bars as he prowls for unwitting victims. Eventually, they’re spending so much time together that they stumble into a relationship, and don’t quite know what to make of it. It’s not original, but it has the slightest whiff of freshness, unlike Efron’s meet-cute plot and Jordan’s failed marriage routine.
Was that the story that birthed this relative mess, and were the others attached onto it somewhere along the way? Maybe. In any case, this much thought is unnecessary. That Awkward Moment has intermittent laughs and dances occasionally with charm, but offers little but stereotype and reheated premises. Nothing to see here.
My Rating: 4/10
Official Rating from CriticsChoice.com: 60/100
Sean Collier is the Associate Editor of Pittsburgh Magazine and a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. Read more from Sean at pittsburghmagazine.com/afterdark