January is always the worst month of the year for an avid moviegoer like thornhill. The studios are too busy promoting the wide releases of their Oscar hopefuls to concentrate on new films they have any hope for. As a result, January is a dumping ground for bad films they can't wait to write off. But Big Hollywood still hopes they can bilk an unsuspecting public out of a few million dollars before the release ends up in streaming and free cable hell.
Because "That Awkward Moment" is a quote-unquote romantic comedy and it is being released two weeks before Valentine's Day, I held out some hope for it. That, and the fact Zac Efron seems to be enjoying a bit of a renaissance since leaving rehab – he is in a lot films – seemed to indicate the film might be better.
But "That Awkward Moment" is full of, well, awkward moments that were funny the first five times we saw the same jokes in other films and television shows. Now, one hundred times later, the jokes are boring and routine. These jokes are now so familiar they have been relegated to bad television sitcoms.
Zac Efron and Miles Teller play Jason and Daniel, co-workers and best friends, who meet regularly with Mikey (Michael P. Jordan, "Fruitvale Station"), a doctor who discovers his wife is cheating on him - to discuss girls, dating and their conquests. They talk about every part of their sexual conquests, their penises, their bodily functions, etc. They talk a lot about things I find it hard to believe three straight guys pursuing relationships with females would talk about.
Eventually, they make a pact to stay single as long as Mikey is single. Given the predictability of THIS quote-unquote romantic comedy, you already know what that means; one or more of the guys will immediately fall in love with a girl and try to hide it from the others. Strangely, the filmmakers views these relationships as an excuse for the three guys to get together and talk more. The story doesn't really shift to the new male-female relationships. Essentially, this is a quote-unquote romantic comedy about three guys.
That might work, if the film were in better creative hands. Written and directed by Tom Gormicon, whose only other credit is "Movie 43" – the worst film I have ever seen – nothing in "That Awkward Moment" is original or seems remotely real or true. That's too bad because you get the sense the filmmakers are trying for so much more. Which makes "Moment" an even bigger disappointment.
And it's too bad for Zac Efron who is a really handsome, really terrible actor – he has the looks of a matinee idol but he just can't act. When he works with more talented directors, he does a better job. But in "Moment", his character just seems like a jerk, the whole time, and never really changes.
Miles Teller is basically the comic relief and Michael P. Jordan plays the 'real' member of the trio. He is going through a real-life situation. But they don't, or can't, overcome the clichéd story, bad direction and stilted acting of the lead.
Imogen Poots plays Ellie, the object of Jason's affections. She must be the next "It" girl, because she is in a lot of movies coming out this year. She doesn't earn that title with this performance. She is good, OK, acceptable, but because she has to play against Efron, her performance fails to register.
"That Awkward Moment" is bad. And it will surely end up on a lot of "Worst of 2014" lists.