Released just in time for the Valentine’s Day season, Tom Gromican’s romantic comedy, “That Awkward Moment,” revolves around three best friends—played by Zac Efron, Miles Teller, and Michael B. Jordan—living the dream in New York City with plenty of women at their disposal. After Jordan’s character, Mikey, is cheated on and divorced by his wife, Efron and Teller make the promise to Jordan to stay single with him forever.
On their first night out, all three strike gold. Efron goes home with a blonde, Teller hooks up with a long-time friend, and Jordan gets a number.
And the plot is muddied.
Efron, the lead bro, goes on a date with the blonde, Ellie. After she doesn’t sleep with him, Efron calls his ex-girlfriend and they have sex. Plot conflict resolved—Efron has someone to sleep with.
Efron, however, decides to give Ellie a second chance. This time, Ellie puts out, and Efron is compelled to stay.
While Efron and Teller are busy unintentionally falling in love with their mates over the course of about four dates, Mikey is hooking up with his ex-wife.
All lie to each other about their relationships, fearing that they will be perceived as bad bros. “We’re just, you know, hooking up—it’s nothing serious,” they reassure each other with fist bumps and beers.
In fact, Gromican shoots the entire film from a perspective sympathetic with the males; a collage of bro dates, nice suits, and objectified images of women flood the screen. For the men, staying committed to their partner is directly associated with growing old. But these bros are never growing up!
The female characters are incredibly underdeveloped, to the point that they become sex objects for their male counterparts. In fact, the only quality revealed about the lead woman, Ellie, is that she is a lonely writer.
Bro Paradise is disrupted, however, when Ellie’s father dies. Efron is forced to address the plot-driving question he has been avoiding the entire screenplay: If I go to her father’s funeral—we’re dating. Should I go?
The answer is no, bro.
Three seconds are dedicated to Ellie’s father’s funeral followed by ten minutes of Efron pondering his dilemma. Poor Efron, the audience is pressed to think.
Ellie then dumps Efron, her emotional response reduced to the cliché: “You weren’t there for me.”
Ironically, Teller and Jordan are also dumped. Poor bros.
After some maturing, the guys decide they want their partners back. Within a few attempts, all guys are suited with their women of choice—save for Jordan, who calls a different girl from earlier. Thank God his back-up choice was available.
The movie concludes with Ellie meeting Efron on a park bench at 2 a.m. Ellie, of course, takes him back.
Despite a few witty remarks from Teller, the movie isn’t funny, realistic, or romantic. But what do you expect from a movie that derives its title from an old Facebook joke?
Amidst the Valentine’s Day season, when advice on what you should do for a date is abundant, I offer advice on what you shouldn’t do for a date: see this movie.