29th Jan2014

‘That Awkward Moment’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Zac Efron, Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Imogen Poots, Mackenzie Davis, Jessica Lucas | Written and Directed by Tom Gormican

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Jason (Efron) and Daniel (Teller) are living a carefree single life in New York City when their best friend Mikey (Jordan) learns his wife wants a divorce. In a show of support, the three longtime buddies promise each other that they will avoid commitment at all costs and stay single together, but their plans are derailed when Mikey starts to surreptitiously date his ex, and Jason and Daniel unexpectedly fall in love. Soon each man finds himself at the most crucial point in a relationship, a moment when “so…” becomes the most terrifying word in the English language.

Straight out of the gate, let me say that That Awkward Moment is one of the most surprising rom-coms I’ve seen in a while. Touted as something of a bromance flick, it is instead a film that harkens back to the golden age of rom-coms, the 80s. There are shades of John Hughes, Cameron Crowe, et al. In fact – as my Twitter feed will attest, That Awkward Moment is easily this generations Say Anything – part “teen movie”, part gross-out comedy, the film walks a fine line between belly laughs and emotional resonance and proves once and for all that (shockingly) Zac Efron is more than just a pretty boy who can sing and dance… It seems he also makes for a superb comedic leading man; but of course anyone that enjoyed 17 Again (as I did) already knew that.

But this film is not all Zac Efron. No. Both Miles Teller and Micheal B. Jordan bring their A-game to the table, acting as perfect foils for Efron and for the women in the film – Teller and Davis have a particularly great on screen rapport. And whilst Imogen Poots plays the cool and funny love interest role to a tee, I couldn’t help feel that, of the trio of women in That Awkward Moment, it was Mackenzie Davis who was the most enthralling; and the one I’d like to get to know better…

And like all good rom-coms, That Awkward Moment has a kick-ass soundtrack – which again harkens back to the electro-pop days of the 1980s and even the synth driven score of Drive. It’s the soundtrack which really gives the film that Say Anything vibe – only it’s like holding an entire film above your head in front of a girls window instead of just a boombox!

A superb debut feature from writer/director Tom Gormican, That Awkward Moment is a brilliant blend of belly laughs, obscure movie references and odd cameos, gross out gags (including a great “rock out with your c*ck out” moment and some horizontal toilet dancing) and real heart. But the real success of the film? That it’s three leads are totally believeable as characters and as friends. A film such as this lives and dies on its leading characters and thankfully Gormican got the mix right – charm, charisma and likeability will always win out and Efron, Teller and Jordan have that in spades.

Despite the screening being full of women (yes, I was the only guy in the cinema) That Awkward Moment would actually make for a great date flick. The film is in cinemas across the UK from today, January 29th.

***** 5/5

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