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Film Review: That Awkward Moment

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★★☆☆☆

That Awkward Moment starts off laughing at, well, that awful moment that arrives when couples try to define their casual-sex/dating relationship and decide whether it should go in a more serious direction or wither and die. I’d like to start this review by talking about That Awful Moment when you realise a comedy threw its few funny moments into its trailer, rendering anything in the movie itself bland and unsurprising.

Whilst I wouldn’t rush to blame the filmmakers for the sins of the trailer (it’s rarely in their control what studios choose to show in promotional material), the uncomfortable truth is The Awkward Moment just doesn’t work. It wants to straddle the same comedy-drama fence as Crazy Stupid Love or maybe even something a bit edgier, like HBO’s Girls. The problem is, its attempts at comedy barely have enough momentum or whit behind them to raise a smile, and the moments of dramatic potential fall limply to the ground.

Zac Efron, who is one of Hollywood’s most interesting and watchable talents, plays one of three young men who decide to avoid committed relationships. One of the other guys (Michael B Jordan) has just been told by his partner she wants to leave him, so they make a commitment to stay single but still have a good time.

The filmmakers are eager to show that these guys are the definition of twenty-first-century male masculinity. They are comfortable with seeing each other naked and having sex, enjoy talking about sex, seem to effortless move from girl to girl and have great jobs that they don’t dedicate much time to. The film is at its most interesting when it tries to look at what makes men behave like men when they are around other men. In some respects, this film is the antidote to the nastiness of Todd Phillips’s Hangover series, where women are moaning bitches and homosexuality something to laugh at. In fact, the highest praise one could give writer/director Tom Gormican (and this really shouldn’t be praise, it’s the way things should always be) is that he has crafted a male-centred comedy where the objectification of women is either not present or challenged.

Whilst there are similarities to the afforementioned show Girls and HBO's other relationships-based comedy drama Looking, That Awkward Moment tries to do its own thing and survive on its own terms. The trouble is, I don't think it's entirely sure what those terms are or how it should stick to them. 

That Awkward Moment (2013), directed by Tom Gormican, is released in the UK by Entertainment One, Certificate 15. 




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