Tuesday, February 4, 2014

That Awkward Moment

A slow start to 2014 continues with writer-director Tom Gormican's fish-nor-fowl "That Awkward Moment," which produced no laughter and only stony silence from the small audience at my late show.

Its three lead actors - Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan, and Miles Teller - have all shown significant potential, and depending on the development of their careers, this movie may be looked back on for its amalgamation of talent, but likely not on its own merits. 

It's about three best buds since college - Jordan's Mikey, a doctor, Efron's Jason, and Teller's Daniel, the latter two of whom work together designing book covers (movie job) -- who, to spare themselves the inconvenience of the "awkward moment" when a woman asks where a relationship is going, make a pact to stay single, which of course they spend the rest of the movie violating. Jason chases the messy Ellie (Imogen Poots); Darren gets serious with his longtime wingman, Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis, who looks like she'd eat Teller alive); and Mikey tries to patch things up with his adulterous wife, Vera (Jessica Lucas in a thankless part).

The situations are standard and contrived, the dialogue drastically overwritten and often unnecessarily vulgar. Jordan gets far less screen time than his co-stars, an unwise choice (though he still models what looks like the entire Under Armour catalog). Gormican sometimes seems to get how young people talk today, but then he ends with a preposterous and cheeseball scene at a book reading in which Poots forgets all her beefs with Efron and takes the dumb lug back. He, Jordan and Teller are all at crucial times in their careers, on the precipice of can't-play-kids-anymore adulthood and with the goods to tackle mature roles. Here, they're still stuck in a sort of limbo, and Gormican hasn't written them the laughs to divert attention from its own awkwardness.

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