That Awkward Moment (tbc)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner30/01/2014

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 94 mins

Enjoyable romantic comedy with likeable performances, a snappy, sharply observed script and central relationships that feel a bit more real than the usual formulaic nonsense, though it's never quite laugh-out-loud funny and it rather overdoes the toilet jokes.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Tom Gormican, That Awkward Moment is set in present-day New York and stars Zac Efron and Miles Teller as twenty-something best friends Jason and Daniel, who make a three-way pact to stay single after their married friend Mikey (Michael B Jordan) announces that his wife Vera (Jessica Lucas) has left him and is sleeping with her lawyer. However, with typically terrible timing, Jason finds himself falling for Ellie (Imogen Poots), despite an embarrassing morning-after moment where he mistakenly thinks she is a hooker.

Meanwhile, wise-cracking Daniel finds himself increasingly attracted to his friend Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis), who usually acts as his wing-woman in pick-up situations, while Mikey discovers his relationship with his wife unexpectedly rekindled once they spend some time apart. With all three friends hiding the full extent of their romantic situations from one another, things eventually come to a head and they each have to decide where their various relationships are going.

The Good
Efron and Teller have engaging, likeable chemistry as best friends and there's strong support from both Poots (nailing the American accent once again) and Jordan, though Lucas is rather underdeveloped as Vera. However, the stand-out performance belongs to Mackenzie Davis (Breathe In), who's both charming and funny as Chelsea, matching filthy wise-cracks with Teller's character and generating a convincing chemistry.

Gormican's sharply observed script crackles with snappy dialogue (highlight: a line about Jason's job as a designer of book jackets) and at least feels like it has something to say about both male friendships and commitment-phobic twenty-somethings. Similarly, the two main relationships (Mikey's is too under-developed to count) feel much more realistic than the usual formulaic nonsense, largely because the characters are believably flawed.

The Bad
That said, the film's never quite as laugh-out-loud funny as it thinks it is - there are too many toilet/dick jokes for one thing - and a number of the gags fall flat, though it is at least consistently amusing. Similarly, for everything that the film gets right, there are a handful of key moments that fail to convince, such as Jason deciding not to accompany Ellie to a family funeral, because that would mean they were dating, or his choice of costume for what he thinks is a fancy dress party (admittedly a good sight gag, but inconsistent with what we've seen from Jason as a character).

Worth seeing?
Despite its flaws, That Awkward Moment is an entertaining romcom enlivened by a sharply observed script and likeable performances from a talented cast. As date movies go, you could do a lot worse. Worth seeing.

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Content updated: 21/01/2020 14:50

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