Matt Pais, @mattpais
RedEye movie critic
12:00 AM CST, January 30, 2014
**1/2 (out of four)
Refreshingly, “That Awkward Moment” totally inverts stereotypes about men fearing commitment and women wanting to know what’s up with this relationship.
No, no it doesn’t. “TAM” is a stale routine by a likable comedian, in the sense that stars Zac Efron (“At Any Price”), Miles Teller (“The Spectacular Now”) and Michael B. Jordan (“Fruitvale Station”) make good salesmen even when peddling a middling product. Jason (Efron) and Daniel (Teller) promise to stay single with Mikey (Jordan) after the latter’s wife (Jessica Lucas) confesses to sleeping with a lawyer and asks for a divorce. Almost before he finishes explaining his heartbreak Mikey’s out with the boys, who treat every night like an episode of “Entourage.” Those with a low tolerance for arrogant dudes getting away with shtick because they’re charming should take this opportunity to catch up on better stuff like “Her” and “Inside Llewyn Davis,” or even “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.”
If you can laugh without groaning at, say, Jason wearing a very inappropriate costume to a different kind of costume party than he anticipated, there’s a relatively digestible spark in the arrested development of “That Awkward Moment.” Several laughs and a bit of sweetness come from Jason’s rocky relationship with Ellie (Imogen Poots), particularly as they view an expensive property that mirrors the couple approximating adulthood rather than embodying it.
Daniel’s dalliances with Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis), his regular wingwoman, are simpler than they should be, and the film, previously titled “Are We Officially Dating?” says little about the modern line between hookups and relationships. Yet first-time writer-director Tom Gormican capitalizes on his cast and sense of humor to overcome his occasionally clunky dialogue. The guys are a fun group of cocky dopes (thankfully Mikey provides perspective without coming off as a downer), and they help deliver the sort of movie couples will rent, sort of enjoy and stop caring about just before getting it on. In the dating world, that’s called a success.
Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U
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