Film review: That Awkward Moment (15, 94 min)

That Awkward Moment: Zac Efron as Jason and Imogen Poots as Ellie.
That Awkward Moment: Zac Efron as Jason and Imogen Poots as Ellie.
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Forgettable moments with added raunch

Tom Gormican’s smutty-minded comedy explores the mating rituals of 21st century twenty-somethings and concludes that the pursuit of love is as precarious now as it has ever been.

The internet, smartphones and dating apps might have made it easier to make initial contact, or simply enjoy fleeting physical gratification, but for the embers of a fledgling relationship to smoulder, a few smiley faced texts simply won’t suffice.

That Awkward Moment charts this haphazard search for physical and emotional closeness through the eyes of three swaggering best friends, who live and work in New York City.

Gormican’s film demands a huge suspension of disbelief.

It asks us to believe that High School Musical dreamboat Zac Efron, who reduces hordes of teenage girls to screeching harpies, would struggle to find a woman of substance to keep the other half of his duvet warm at night.

He plays Jason, who chases single women in local bars in the company of best buddy and co-worker, Daniel (Miles Teller).

The third member of the dude posse is Mikey (Michael B Jordan), who married young and is happily settled with his beautiful wife Vera (Jessica Lucas).

Or so he thinks...

Returning home early one day from his shift in the ER, Mikey learns that Vera intends to divorce him.

Jason and Daniel console their pal by taking him to the nearest bar to celebrate his new-found freedom.

“We’re staying single with you.

“Nobody changes their status,” grins Daniel as the three Manhattan musketeers embark on their latest journey of sex discovery.

They booze and socialise, and Jason is bewitched by one acid-tongued girl at the bar, Ellie (Imogen Poots), who seems equally taken with him.

The relationship blossoms but Daniel is ill-equipped for his new role as a supportive boyfriend.

“Being there for people, that’s all relationships are,” Ellie tutors him.

Meanwhile, Daniel wrestles with his true feelings for his best friend Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis) and Mikey comes to terms with losing Vera so he can move on.

That Awkward Moment is a sweet yet instantly forgettable ensemble piece that throws in the now obligatory raunch and nudity to draw in teenage audiences.

Thus two of the central trio demonstrate a unique way to relieve themselves while under the influence of Viagra and Efron attends a fancy dress party with an oversized rubber appendage that could take someone’s eye out.

On-screen chemistry between Efron and Poots isn’t convincing and in a pivotal declaration scene, she wrings out tears convincingly while he can’t.

Teller is a far better actor than the script allows him to be here and Jordan provides solid support in another underwritten role.

Comedy/Drama/Romance. Zac Efron, Michael B Jordan, Miles Teller, Imogen Poots, Mackenzie Davis, Jessica Lucas. Director: Tom Gormican.