A rom-com presented from the point of view of three callow, commitment-phobe serial daters, That Awkward Moment has oodles of potential, not least thanks to the combined talents of its up-and-coming cast. Yet the fact that the film is unable to mine any insight or meaning from its slapdash, cliché-ridden and relatively unfunny screenplay renders this an experiment that’s watchable, yet blatantly unremarkable.
With their friend, Mikey (Michael B. Jordan), in a state of mourning following the breakdown of his marriage to childhood sweetheart Vera (Jessica Lucas), Jason (Zac Efron) and Daniel (Miles Teller) rally to his aid, forming a pact to stay single for the foreseeable future. Their plan quickly hits the rocks, however, as Jason and Daniel settle into relationships, yet must downplay their seriousness at the risk of upsetting Mikey.
Almost everything about That Awkward Moment is predictable and bland. The initial promise of it being a sharp, modern-day male version of Sex & The City is quickly squandered by writer and director Tom Gormican’s unwillingness to be bold. There’s the occasional distinctive notion employed here and there (an early exchange between Jason and Ellie, played by Imogen Poots, is nicely done), but none that threaten to burst the films formulaic bubble.
Instead, the film is a crass, predictable comedy, with a middling side of romantic intrigue – Daniel’s burgeoning relationship with wing woman Chelsea, played with conviction by Mackenzie Davis, yields the odd truth – that’s inconsistent and increasingly difficult to invest in the more it wears on. The final act is particularly troublesome for its portrayal of Davis and Poots’ respective characters as two women willing to overlook immature adolescence in the hope of love.
No matter how hard its cast tries – and by word do they try – That Awkward Moment simply cannot escape its distinct lack of understanding of men and relationships beyond typical stereotypes, regardless of its fresh perspective. It’s funny and charming enough to be watchable, and the chemistry between its central trio sort of charming. But there’s too much weighing That Awkward Moment down for it to be more than a disappointment.