Entertainment
courtesy Focus Features

Film review: That Awkward Moment

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A vile movie of the worst degree, That Awkward Moment is a romantic comedy that is neither romantic nor funny. Its leads are a trio of misogynists, its love interests are three women who could do so much better, its jokes are almost non-existent and if you’re hoping for anything other than a terrible time at the movies, you’re going to wind up severely disappointed.

That introduction isn’t entirely fair; one of the three leads isn’t quite as bad as the rest. His name is Mikey (Michael B. Jordan), a doctor, and at the beginning of the film his wife (Jessica Lucas) wants a divorce. After his best friends, Jason (Zac Efron) and Daniel (Miles Teller), learn of the divorce they make a pact: none of them will get into a relationship. This is promptly broken when all three do exactly that and spend the rest of the movie keeping it a secret from the other two. Jason falls for Ellie (Imogen Poots), an author, Daniel begins seeing his wingman — or wingwoman — Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis) and Mikey tries to rekindle the spark he once had with his wife.

The problem comes from at least two of them being terrible people who treat women awfully for most of the film without any real repercussions.

Jason is someone who has a roster — a group of women with whom he has casual sex and then stops seeing them as soon as they want to get serious — even though he initially blows off Ellie after a misunderstanding in which he assumed she is a prostitute. Double standards are something we should be promoting, right? He spends the rest of the movie treating her like someone on his roster and she just keeps coming back.

Daniel uses Chelsea to introduce him to other women and he lies to her about their intimacy. At least Mikey’s goal is somewhat noble.

Ultimately, we’re told that all of this mistreatment, double standards and deceit is okay if you make a half-hearted apology after you realize you’re wrong. This is what happens to at least two of the characters, which occurs a scene or two after they’re finally told off for their behaviour. This is supposed to be character growth, but it comes across as terrible writing. There was nothing to prompt this development; it happens because it needs to for the film to get a “happy” ending. And the women are poorly developed characters. They are love interests and plot devices who are only with these men because that’s the ideal of the fratboy culture.

Any attempt at humour comes from improv that goes on for far too long. Efron, Teller and Jordan are not strong comedic actors. Their improv isn’t hilarious or even chuckle-worthy. There is only one “awkward moment” from the title and it occurs very early on. That could have been the film’s gimmick, but it turns out it’s just a marketing ploy. Naming your film after an Internet meme gets you free publicity from that very meme.

That Awkward Moment has nothing going for it. Its characters are shallow and there’s a prominent feeling of misogyny permeating throughout. If it was funny perhaps it would be easier to overlook this, but there are maybe only one or two laughs throughout — and they are in the outtakes we see during the credits.

An early front-runner for “worst movie of the year,” That Awkward Moment is despicable and unfunny. I’m sure you can find a better way to entertain yourself for 90 minutes. Go look at some more LOLcats.

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