One Saturday night I found myself at the local AMC Natick theatre sitting amongst an assembly of women ages 17 to 24 and a sprinkling of boyfriends with bewildered looks on their faces. I, too, was amongst the dazed and confused, wondering what I did to deserve such a fate.
It’s not a secret that men don’t generally like romantic comedies. I myself find them boring and predictable. But knowing I was in it for the long haul, I hunkered down and prepared for “That Awkward Moment.” I was determined to squeeze what little entertainment I could from the experience, and to my surprise, I actually did.
“That Awkward Moment” definitely won’t reinvent the rom-com genre, but it’s a comical film that young people especially can relate to. The combination of Zac Efron, Miles Teller (“Project X,” “21 and Over”) and Michael B. Jordan (“Chronicle”) works well as they play off each other to create a real sense of bromance.
The general feel of this film harkens back to classic ‘80s romantic comedies such as “Say Anything” and “Pretty in Pink.” The story centers around three friends who want nothing to do with relationships, but in the end, as most all rom-coms do, they each end up with the girl they’re “meant to be with.” This is the predictable part that I mentioned before – a tried and true formula with wide-ranging appeal that keeps moviegoers coming back for more.
Unfortunately, the story is bogged down when it tries to push the comedy on us instead of letting it happen organically. It falls into the same raunchy, profanity-riddled pattern that we’ve come to expect in the age of Judd Apatow films. Maybe this is a good thing, though, as it shows the genre is evolving with the times. Still, “That Awkward Moment” would sit better with me if the comedic value came more from situational circumstances rather than superficial sex jokes.
But these days sex sells, so you can’t fault first time writer/director Tom Gormican for adding these elements to persuade moviegoers. Plus, the addition of Zac Efron naked certainly doesn’t hurt either. In the end, the film’s message of “love conquers all” wins out with a final scene between Jason (Efron) and his love interest Ellie, played by Imogen Poots, that had even me tearing up.
All in all this is a perfect date night movie for any couple this Valentine’s Day.