Jason: I was going to make you wait but then I realized I’m a dude.
From one of the producers of 2013’s most reviled movies (MOVIE 43), comes a new “rom-com” that only one of the producers of said repulsive and offensive movie could direct. First time director, Tom Gormican, clearly has an appreciation for toilet humor and misogynistic characters because his new film, THAT AWKWARD MOMENT, is rife with them. The unfortunate and probably the most surprising part of this movie (maybe it shouldn’t be so surprising) is that the female characters are as equally deplorable as the men. THAT AWKWARD MOMENT is yet another example of the Hollywood comedy that insults its audience by presenting decent actors portraying characters that are complete and utter douche bags. The genuine laugh out loud moment are so few and far between with this one that it makes watching the movie an exhausting exercise in patience.
Mikey (Michael B. Jordan, FRUITVALE STATION, CHRONICLE) has just been dumped by his wife for a lawyer. As he sits around with his two best friends (Jason, played by Zac Effron and Daniel, played by Miles Teller) and explains what happened, we almost feel bad for Mikey, especially when he explains that this so-called lawyer looks like Morris Chestnut. If Mikey were a student, or working a low-paying part time job, it would be easier to feel bad each time he mentions that his wife left him for a lawyer (the implication that she left him for more money), but we quickly find out he is in fact a doctor. I guess he just hates lawyers like everybody else supposedly does.
Jason and Daniel decide that their best friend needs a night out to have fun, get drunk and meet women, while the two also get drunk and use their friend, Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis), as their wingman to pick up women at the bar. Playboy Jason meets Ellie (Imogene Poots), a young woman who has recently moved to NYC and he goes home with her. The next morning he awakens to find that she has knee high boots on the floor, an envelope full of cash and a box of condoms on her side table. His conclusion: she is a prostitute. Lo and behold that same Ellie also happens to be an author who shows up at the design firm that Jason and Daniel work out of to get pitches for the cover of her latest book. Some awkwardness ensues through terrible dialogue, including an abundance of dick jokes and juvenile humour, and we the audience are supposed to be rooting for this group of ignorant young men as they traverse the dating scene, all the while avoiding relationships in order to support their newly singled friend. Basically, a young man denounces relationships only to find he was wrong and wanted one all along, if you can believe that.
Gormican must truly enjoy this sub-genre of brain dead promiscuous men who treat women like garbage because that is exactly what he creates here. Jordan’s talent as an actor impressed most (if not all) audience members for his performance in FRUITVALE STATION, one of the most talked about indie films of 2013, but here his talents are laid to the side as he walks around bare chested (not that I’m complaining) and talks about how his penis is now orange because he decided to relieve himself while using self-tanning cream. Efron, who hasn’t actually made a film that has garnered him any praise since HAIRSPRAY (for his singing, dancing and incredibly ridiculous boyish good looks) is a giant bowl of eye candy and nothing more in this movie. Jason is some sort of arrogant playboy whose college level sexual exploits make him some sort of hero with his friends, because apparently we live in a world where the amount of women you’ve slept with and taken advantage of has some sort of value. Miles Teller is essentially doing the same character he did in 21 & OVER. What sealed the deal for me though is Chelsea, the eternal wingman to this group of young men. She actually falls for one of these guys despite having seen how horribly they treat women. If Gormican’s portrayal of heterosexual men wasn’t bad enough, his idiotic and apparently self-hating women are enough to drive any viewer with a head on their shoulders over the edge.
THAT AWKWARD MOMENT is a comedy without any sign of intelligence, which creates for an experience that is both boring and offensive and full of deplorable, unlikable characters. This is to say nothing of the plot that is so completely basic and formulaic that you can guess the outcome long before there are any hints on screen. I would say that Gormican should stick to producing, as he clearly knows how to make something that people will want to see, but then we might end up with another MOVIE 43.