Arts movie review

That inappropriate, mildly amusing moment

Leave Zac Efron at home next time

6556 thatawkward
Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan and Zac Effron in the romantic comedy That Awkward Moment.
Nicole Rivelli


That Awkward Moment

Directed by Tom Gormison

Starring Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan, Miles Teller

Rated R

Now Playing

What do you get when you make a rom-com about three good-looking twenty-something guys in New York City? Lots of raunchy jokes and romantic clichés.

That Awkward Moment focuses on Jason (Zac Efron), Mikey (Michael B. Jordan), and Daniel (Miles Teller). Jason and Daniel work together as book cover designers, while Mikey (apparently the only one who lives in the real world) is a doctor. Mikey’s wife cheats on him and dumps him, prompting Jason and Daniel to swear a pact to stay single in solidarity with Mikey.

Of course, their pact is quickly complicated by a trio of bland women who become their girlfriends, in all but name. And that’s when the real problems begin.

While this movie markets itself as a romantic comedy, it’s really a buddy movie that happens to include dating. None of the women in the movie have any personality whatsoever. Rather, they are plot points used to teach the men in the story about themselves.

Every girlfriend in the movie fits a stereotype, from maniac-pixie dream girl to girl-next-door to regretful, cheating wife. Predictably, neither Jason, Mikey, nor Daniel had any chemistry with the female leads at all. It’s hard to fall in love with a paper-thin character after all. Instead they resort to tired clichés to emote how important their girlfriend is to their lives. And at the end, when Jason has to make a big romantic gesture to win back the girl he lost, he resorts to a retread of a monologue he used earlier in the story. The first time, it was silly. The second time, it was absolutely stupid, but he still got the girl.

The real stars of this movie are Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller. Both have an easy charm and talent that they bring to their roles — Teller is loose and jokey, while Jordan slips into the role of a wounded, sweet man. Meanwhile, Zac Efron plays only a single emotion — uninterested. It’s an appropriate choice for the first half of the movie when Jason plays a womanizer, but it’s irritating when Efron retains that barely concealed smirk during the final act.

Obviously, the movie works well whenever Jason, Mikey, and Daniel are hanging out together. Of course, there are plenty of suggestive jokes and gags, which are actually pretty funny. Jordan and Teller pick up the slack for the inattentive Efron and make their trio seem like a fun group of friends. But everything in between is just a drag.