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'That Awkward Moment' Movie Review

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating

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That Awkward Moment movie review

Poster for 'That Awkward Moment'

© Focus Features

That Awkward Moment flips the typical setup of a romantic comedy, with 20-something men the ones who drown their sorrows in ice cream as they commiserate over broken relationships. And in making a raunchy romcom from the male point of view, That Awkward Moment does deliver a date movie men won't have to be dragged to.  Unfortunately, in order to drive home how testosterone-driven the film is, penis and poop jokes are the order of the day which is too bad given the level of the talent assembled in this R-rated raunchy comedy from first time feature film writer/director Tom Gormican.

The title refers to that point in time when you're with a member of the opposite sex and things are going so well that your date asks, "So, where is this going?" At that point, two out of three of the BFFs at the heart of That Awkward Moment bail on the women they're seeing. In fact, relationships are not just avoided but forbidden after Jason (Zac Efron) and Daniel (Miles Teller) make a pact to remain single as a show of support for their buddy Mikey (Michael B. Jordan) whose wife is leaving him after cheating on him with an attorney/Morris Chestnut lookalike.  Mikey's all torn up and Jason and Daniel are determined to reintroduce him to the singles scene.  That means singles bars and one-night stands, and nothing more serious than a repeat booty call.  

But the guys, two of whom often parade around without their shirts, jinxed themselves by creating the pact. Of course, Jason and Daniel will find their Miss Rights while Mikey, the more grown-up member of the Three Musketeers, will attempt to reconcile with his cheating wife. Then, because of their handshake agreement, they'll have to hide their love lives from one another which leads to denials in front of the women, which then leads to misunderstandings and break-ups. Will love win out at the end or will bromance trump romance?  Have you ever seen a romantic comedy before?

That Awkward Moment may pull a switcheroo on the boy/girl dynamics, but it doesn't exactly reinvent the romcom wheel.  However, there's much about That Awkward Moment that does work: the guys have terrific chemistry, the acting is above average for the genre, and the women (Imogen Poots and Mackenzie Davis) are surprisingly fleshed out and not just stereotypical girlfriend material.

Zac Efron's charming as the lead and has matured into an actor capable of actually being the headliner of a feature film not aimed at teen girls. Miles Teller is on the verge of hitting it big and although his lines in this are not exactly award-worthy material, he delivers them with so much conviction that you believe everything he's saying (even when it's just chatter about extended erections and the inability to urinate in a standing position).  Michael B. Jordan was outstanding in 2013's critically acclaimed indie drama Fruitvale Station and in That Awkward Moment he shows off his lighter side (as well as muscular abs and killer smile).  

That Awkward Moment starts off surprisingly strong, establishing the friendship while allowing the threesome to sound like real guys and that's actually what saves the film from being a toss-away comedy.  The three 20-something guys talk and act like genuine friends just hanging out. They're flawed, funny, and relatable, as are the women who screw up their plans to remain single.  That Awkward Moment doesn't always work, and it lives up to the 'awkward' title throughout the slow middle act, but there's enough laughs in its 90 minute running time to warrant checking it out for those who like their romances on the raunchy side. It's also the first romantic comedy I've sat through in years in which the audience enthusiastically clapped at the end, and not just because they were happy the movie was over.

(There's extra footage in the credits so stay seated.)

GRADE: B

That Awkward Moment was directed by Tom Gormican and is rated R for sexual content and language throughout.

Theatrical Release:  January 31, 2014

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