That Awkward Moment

A rom com with training wheels, writer/director Tom Gormican’s That Awkward Moment is a featherweight story of twentysomething guys afraid to commit to the ideal woman, even when she’s right in front of them. You get the sense that Gormican wishes his movie could be the male-centric version of Lena Dunham’s universe; it’s surprising he didn’t title...read more

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Reviewed by Perry Seibert
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A rom com with training wheels, writer/director Tom Gormican’s That Awkward Moment is a featherweight story of twentysomething guys afraid to commit to the ideal woman, even when she’s right in front of them. You get the sense that Gormican wishes his movie could be the male-centric version of Lena Dunham’s universe; it’s surprising he didn’t title it “Boys.”

The story follows three guy friends in their twenties who have sworn off getting serious with women in order to keep their bromance front and center. This pact comes about after Mikey (Michael B. Jordan), a doctor, is left by his wife Vera (Jessica Lucas), prompting his best buds since college, Jason (Zac Efron) and Daniel (Miles Teller), to take him out for a night of drinking and picking up chicks. However, soon after their declaration of eternal bachelorhood, all three men start getting closer to various women, and decide to hide that secret from each other.

Mikey rekindles things with his soon-to-be ex, showing her a spontaneous side of himself he’d kept hidden during his years of medical training. Jason falls for an author named Ellie (Imogen Poots), who is the first to bridge the emotional gap he maintains with the roster of women he sleeps with. The most interesting story line belongs to Daniel, who finds himself getting serious with Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis), a female friend of the trio who goes out with them and often acts as a wingman (wingwoman? wingperson?) for the motormouthed Daniel -- a favor he frequently returns.

If there’s an overriding fault in That Awkward Moment, it’s that Gormican does nothing to change up how his characters speak. All three friends are equally capable of witty one-liners, and even the female characters say things that sound like they came from the mind of a male writer. He shows off a talent for comedy, though, and the actors run with it. Teller, a natural goofball who comes across like the love child of Vince Vaughn and John Cusack, is often amusing. Efron almost looks like an adult for the first time in his career, and Jordan maintains his dignity even when his character’s junk turns orange -- something we don’t see, but get to hear about a whole lot.

The movie’s predictability doesn’t derail its light charms, at least not until the plot makes a fatal tonal error when Jason has to decide if attending the funeral for Ellie’s dad would mean he’s making too much of a commitment to her. That’s the premise of a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode, not a breezy guy-centric rom com, and here it’s played straight.

Although That Awkward Moment is the first feature from Gormican, the opening informs us that it is “a film by” him. Since he has no track record, that’s a designation that means practically nothing, and by the time the closing credits roll -- joined by the obligatory blooper reel -- the movie turns out to be so pedestrian that it’s still not clear exactly what makes a Tom Gormican film anything special.

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  • Released: 2014
  • Rating: R
  • Review: A rom com with training wheels, writer/director Tom Gormican’s That Awkward Moment is a featherweight story of twentysomething guys afraid to commit to the ideal woman, even when she’s right in front of them. You get the sense that Gormican wishes his movi… (more)

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