That Awkward Moment – Review

 

A couple of years back, some genius working for the US TV network CBS came up with a brilliant idea: to mine the likes of Twitter for story ideas for TV shows. The end result was the now historically terrible William Shatner sitcom $h*! My Dad Says (not censored either, that was the actual title). At the time, critics decreed it to be the lowest point in television creativity for decades, and many jokes were made about what such an endeavour could possibly spawn, but years went by and, thankfully, nothing ever did. Until now. Welcome to That Awkward Moment.

 

So named for one of Twitter’s oldest hashtags, there’s an inescapable feeling throughout That Awkward Moment that a twenty-something intern in a minimally furnished studio office somewhere one day got asked, off the cuff, for a film pitch and began regurgitating “#thatawkwardmoment” tweets, plucking a generic sitcom plot from the recesses of his Comedy Central-soaked mind when asked what the plot would be. The end result sees Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller as three twenty something friends who like having sex. Not with each other of course, that would almost be something original in terms of comedic material, but no, with a series of nameless and relatively interchangeable women. But then…SHOCK! They start having to deal with relationships with them instead. Noticeably, it’s the plot of at least one major character in nearly every sitcom ever, and that’s the crux here: That Awkward Moment is a sitcom. It’s structured like a sitcom, it’s written like a sitcom, and it’s exactly as good as a sitcom. In other words, it’s rubbish.

 

Ordinarily, Efron is a likeable enough screen presence, but his role here as “Scumbag A” (the characters have names, which you’ll soon forget) is one of the most baffling choices a young up-and-comer has made in years. It’s as if he’s been given lessons in charm and humility by Shia LaBeouf and let lose upon the populace, with the Twitteresque title adding unintended hilarity. Jordan meanwhile makes a valiant effort to be the heart of the trio, his soft-cornered performance reminding us that sooner or later we may have to actually remember something he’s been in (Fruitvale Station still doesn’t have a UK release date at present). The film’s defining triumph however comes in the form of Vince Vaughn 2.0, aka Miles Teller, a young actor with the combined charisma of an overturned skip, a barren wasteland and a piece of canine excrement all rolled into one smirking dead-eyed package. Teller showed up in the equally unfunny 21 & Over last year to introduce us to his particular brand of pseudo-Sean William Scott charm and it frankly wasn’t funny then, it’s now even less funny with the added value of being frankly antagonising. If the anthropological point of the movie is that these three must somehow breed in order to further the human race, then five seconds of watching Miles Teller’s schtick will bring on your championing for our extinction.

 

I cannot for the life of me fathom, for even one second, quite who would find this sort of thing entertaining. It’s a celebration of moral bankruptcy that attempts to have it’s cake and eat it by then turning it’s characters inwards for no understandable reason whatsoever. It’s flaccid, unoriginal, uninspired, and after the first three or four scenes of Miles Teller and Zac Efron standing around a coffee pot in a minimalistic office wearing their hoodies and mocking anyone with the temerity to be older than them, you have to question the standards of anyone buying into it. It’s astonishingly chauvinistic, but not in the hilariously Stiffleresque way it thinks it is, if anything it’s simply contemptful of women – making the bus banner proclamations of “the perfect date movie” borderline hilarious as a statement of our time and a damning indictment of sexual politics.

 

The only actual awkward moment to be gained from That Awkward Moment is when you suggest it as a date movie, and then have to live with it afterwards. Alone.

 

 

Catch Van Connor’s reviews in our Movies section and live on Slam Dunk Cinema every Saturday at 12PM on Sheffield Live! 93.2FM or on the podcast via iTunes.

 

In it
Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan, Miles Teller

Behind it
Tom Gormican




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