That Awkward Moment wasted its charms

Director: Tom Gormican
Writer: Tom Gormican
Cast: Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan, Miles Teller, Imogen Poots, Mackenzie Davis, Jessica Lucas

Even Zac Efron’s abs could not save it.

Three friends find themselves in relationship conundrums and they try to decipher what to do next about it. Jason (Zac Efron) sits on a bench, apparently waiting for someone, and tells the story from the beginning. After learning that his wife is having an affair and wants to divorce him, Mikey (Michael B. Jordan) gets dragged into a bar by his friends, Jason and Daniel, to meet new people. Mikey meets a girl with glasses (Kate Simses) but doesn’t call her until the end of the movie, as he keeps trying to patch things up with his wife, Vera (Jessica Lucas). Daniel eventually falls for his wingwoman, Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis). And Jason meets Ellie (Imogen Poots), a writer. He commits a lot of what would be considered relationship mistakes, yet of course, she is the one he’s waiting for while sitting on that bench. All these become complicated when the three friends make a pact to remain single and help each other out during this time in their lives.

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Spare yourself the hour and a half of abject difficulty, trying to get through this mess. It’s painfully boring to watch after the first twenty minutes, with the comedy disappearing more and more as the movie progresses. I couldn’t care less about what the three characters have gotten themselves into after their pact to abstain from romantic relationships; you can pretty much predict what happens from then on.

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The charming cast should not have been wasted on a convoluted plot and played-out comedy. It had so much promise at the start, but it didn’t sustain the momentum. It failed to provide characters that you would empathize with or root for, because it failed to provide how the resolution in the end was reached. We have commitment-phobes who vow to refrain from entering into romantic relationships, yet they find themselves in less than ideal situations. The point of it all was difficult to ascertain. Where is the struggle? What is the problem? How was it solved? What did the makers want to show? If they wanted to provide something different from those dominating the date movie genre, they failed by using a formulaic procedure.

There is a lot of new talent in the cast, and this may become the springboard for more film roles. The selling point of the movie is Zac Efron in a wolfpack role, and for that alone it has accomplished its purpose. If it helps the careers of the cast, then it might have done something good at least. Mackenzie Davis’ and Miles Teller ‘s performances are particularly noteworthy.

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The movie had its charms, but it didn’t maximize the potential of these, and instead relied on an unfunny script. Even the views about relationship portrayed in the movie seem a tad outdated, only modified by the setting and the use of technology. Efron’s character immediately thought of his love interest as a prostitute after seeing packs of condoms near her bed. What a logical conclusion.

Am I overthinking this? Perhaps. But is a movie at least supposed to have a clear and strong plot? Yes.

MNL Film Club Score: 4.0

-J

P.S. – Your only consolation is that you won’t remember this hour-and-a-half’s worth of awkward moments after watching it.

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