That Awkward Moment

Posted by Joel Copling on February 11, 2014

The main takeaway is that Jason (Zac Efron) doesn't deserve Ellie (Imogen Poots) in the slightest bit, but don't tell that to writer/director Tom Gormican, who seems blissfully unaware that his main protagonist is an unlikable sort whose major, turning-point conundrum in the film's narrative is a moment when he must decide whether his relationship with Ellie is "serious" enough (i.e. whether he is, truly, her boyfriend) that he should go to her father's (Joseph Adams) funeral. That the notion of attending as her support system never occurs to him magnifies the bevy of issues in Gormican's screenplay, which is also an uncomfortable mixture of romantic drama and gross-out comedy.

Jason, Daniel (Miles Teller), and Mikey (Michael B. Jordan) are roommates and players of the proverbial game: They hang out in bars with mutual gal-pal Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis), introduces the many beautiful women who filter through to any of the three guys (well, except for Mikey, who's married but going through a rough patch with his cheating wife Vera, played by Jessica Lucas). Then the guys end up sleeping with them before the night is out. This is sort of how Jason meets Ellie, though not exactly. He interferes upon the moves of an anonymous loser whose many attempts to convince Ellie that sex is not his end shroud the feeling that sex is his end game. Jason and Ellie connect immediately, all the while Daniel and Chelsea begin to feel pangs of affection for each other.

All is not lost in the thematically and tonally confused "That Awkward Moment." The three central performances from Efron, Teller, and Jordan are good enough that it's all the more depressing their characters are defined by one-note traits. Poots is stunning here, more glueing her scenes together and with soulful look in her eyes, but Gormican's treatment of this character is problematic from the get-go, while Davis, also quite good in material below her, is simply here for the most tired of genre-related reasons--to fit like a cog into Daniel's love life. Now it's time for me to make an obvious joke: "That Awkward Moment" where it's got an faint air of sexism about it--troubling, to say the least.

Film Information

Zac Efron (Jason), Miles Teller (Daniel), Michael B. Jordan (Mikey), Imogen Poots (Ellie), Mackenzie Davis (Chelsea), Jessica Lucas (Vera), Addison Timlin (Alana), Josh Pais (Fred), Evelina Turen (Sophie), Karen Ludwig (Mrs. Rose), Joseph Adams (Ellie's Dad), Tina Benko (Ellie's Mom), Lola Glaudini (Sharon).

Directed and written by Tom Gormican.

Rated R (sexual content, language throughout).

94 minutes.

Released on February 11, 2014.