Review: 'That Awkward Moment' is 'Sex and the City' for guys

Posted at 02/01/14 4:14 PM

"That Awkward Moment" is a romantic/ sex comedy about three male best friends in their twenties living in New York City. Two of them, Jason (Zac Efron) and Daniel (Miles Teller), work as book cover designers in a publishing house. The other, Mikey (Michael B. Jordan), is an emergency room doctor.

While Jason and Daniel are happily swinging singles with their rosters of girlfriends, Mikey has just been told by his wife that she wants a divorce. All three guys promise to each other that they would all remain single together.

Unknown to his friends though, Mikey is trying to win back his lawyer wife Vera (Jessica Lucas). On the other hand, Jason meets and is getting close to a new girl Ellie (Imogen Poots). Daniel is beginning to see his BFF- and pick-up partner Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis) in a different light. Can all three yuppies actually keep steadfast in their fraternal pledge?

Zac Efron is undeniably fit for this charming yet shallow and arrogant character. It seems though that he had a step backward from his serious portrayals in "The Paper Boy" and "Parkland" to find himself in rather embarrassing scenes in the first third of the film (they were funny though). However, in the final third, Zac was more in his element. His final monologue alone reaffirms his status as romantic lead.

Miles Teller plays the immature, noisy, annoying friend Daniel here. He is the funniest and the most relaxed of the three main actors. He remains relatively likable despite his smart-alecky character, coming across as a young Andrew McCarthy or John Cusack. His chemistry with his partner Mackenzie Davis was the best of the three pairs in the film.

Michael B. Jordan is fresh from his acclaimed performance last year as an ill-fated ex-con in "Fruitvale Station". His character is the most stable of the three friends, and his character does not really get too idiotic situations. He finds himself in more dramatic than comic moments here, which makes his character feel like an odd man out. He should stick to drama as his comic timing seems off.

The comedy aspect was only occasionally hilarious when an actor makes a total fool of himself. There are two big comedy gimmicks here that will make this film memorable. One was when they show Zac and Miles try to pee while Viagra was still on full effect. The other was when Zac goes to Ellie's birthday party with his awkward sense of "dress up." Other than that, nothing really funny, more of annoying, grating and forced.

The romantic aspect fared better. It was revatively well-written, though treading on very familiar ground of male-female relationships and commitment phobia. When is "going out" just simply "going out"? The film was quite frank on scenes and language of a sexual nature though, with scenes of semi-nudity of the three actors. I was surprised to see this rated only R-13 locally. This should at least be an R-18 for me because maturity is required to properly understand this aspect of the film. This is not Zac of High School Musical anymore. 5/10.

This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."