That Awkward Moment (2014) – Review

There was some kind of goal in sight for writer/director Tom Gormican when he set out to make That Awkward Moment, a film about three twenty-something guys in New York who make a pact to stay single “for each other” but soon find themselves in relationships that the other two don’t know about. That goal might have been to make the When Harry Met Sally of this generation. Or perhaps it was American Pie. It’s hard to tell which, because the film itself is fairly unsure, leading to a rather contrived, derivative and scattered plot which resembles somebody who has taken every romantic movie and frat house comedy cliché and run it through a blender.

The premise alone requires a certain suspension of disbelief; it’s hard to imagine three friends who are so close genuinely keeping happy relationships secret just because they made an extemporaneous pact that wasn’t really a pact, and that suspension really becomes strained when one of them refuses to go to a funeral with their other half because it would prove that they are, in fact, a couple. It’s the one moment in the film where you’re likely to lose faith in characters who, while often immature, are genuinely likeable. It’s a pivotal plot point, mind you, but it probably could have been handled slightly differently to avoid losing an audience that’s most likely already on the brink.

While generally the film doesn’t succeed in its goal to be a trend-setter, it doesn’t completely fail either. It brings some of its own stuff to the table (the How I Met Your Mother-esque “so” moment), it’s adequately funny, often sweet, and we do find ourselves mostly invested in the characters and their relationships – despite the odd misstep. While his name still (unfairly) carries an air of teen prettybody, Zac Efron does a good job stepping back into light-hearted comedy after some impressive turns in the likes of The Paperboy and Parkland, even if it’s an eye-candy role, and Imogen Poots is as solid as ever.

That Awkward Moment is affably unspectacular and certainly won’t hold a notably high status in years to come in either the rom-com or boys comedy department, but it’s kinda fun and (mostly) easy to like.

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

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