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Jan 31st
05:07 pm
Selection of TAM Reviews  
For reference, the Rotten Tomatoes consensus is this: "Formulaic and unfunny, That Awkward Moment wastes a charming cast on a contrived comedy that falls short of the date movies it seems to be trying to subvert." There are some really negative reviews that focus a lot on the misogyny. I haven't seen it yet (hopefully tomorrow) so I can't speak to that topic but it's easy to see how the film might push buttons.

Generally the cast are considered the saving grace or are ignored in face of the other issues. There are a few that really rip Zac but I think that has a basis more in the fact that he's the only one of the cast that reviewers feel comfortable criticizing because Miles and MBJ are indie darlings and will always get a pass compared to Disney musical boy Zac (c'est la vie/RME at their prejudice). I will say I was happy to see a few reviewers who traditionally have not held Zac in high esteem being a little more open to Zac.

Below are excerpts of some of the better reviews. I don't feel a need to post the negative ones tbh since mostly they don't focus on Zac but on the film as a whole. But you are welcome to head over to Rotten Tomatoes to find them, lol.

San Francisco Chronicle - Mick LaSalle
“That Awkward Moment” is an entertaining movie that, despite big flaws (especially near the finish), does the hard work of showing two relationships originating and growing. It's an attempt to tell a modern story about how love is done in 2014, and though it ultimately leans too much on genre clichés, it reveals some of the tensions that today's young adults experience in their romantic lives — the impersonality of hook-up culture in collision with the human desire and need for intimacy…

Teller and Efron play breezy guys who are very good at funny banter. Actually, it's possible that writer-director Tom Gormican has made their dialogue interchangeable, and it's only the fact that Efron and Teller are so different in style that we don't hear the similarities. Efron is an old-time leading man, an updated Tyrone Power, while Teller is a sly comedian.

Easily, “That Awkward Moment” could have been annoying. It's another movie that makes picking up beautiful women in bars look as easy as picking lint off of upholstery, and there are so many references to Facebook that it seems like a product placement. But the two young women in the film, Imogen Poots and Mackenzie Davis, are very good, and Gormican directs and cuts the film so that they hold their own.
Poots has strong moments as Ellie, a young publisher who thinks she might be in love with Jason. Poots, an English actress, had a remarkable scene in “A Late Quartet,” in which she explodes with pent-up rage. Here, she keeps her powder dry but has many close-ups in which she looks at Efron as if thinking, “Are you the man I thought you were, or are you turning out to be something else, something a lot worse?” It's a look men will recognize.

In its last 20 minutes, “That Awkward Moment” falls off a bit by doing two things romantic comedies often do, no matter how much we might wish they wouldn't: 1) There are unnecessary complications, with people misbehaving in unexpected ways, just to stretch out the action; and 2) We get one of those public confessions of love, of a kind that no one has done well since “Jerry Maguire.”

The reversion to formula takes a pleasing comedy and drops it down a notch, but “That Awkward Moment” is still very easy to like.


THR - Sheri Linden
But even when Gormican’s material tries too hard to be wackily crude, and not hard enough to make dramatic sense, the actors suggest layers of experience that help to fill in the gaps. The central characters’ contradictions resonate: These guys are trying to figure themselves out, though their chosen method is often avoidance. Among the thin setups and the gags that fall flat, there are well-played laughs and exchanges that capture something true about youthful ambition and the distancing strategy of self-irony…

The actors’ chemistry is crucial to making often idiotic behavior at least somewhat palatable. But unlike Judd Apatow, Gormican doesn’t insist that these boys and their growing pains are adorable. Jordan’s Mikey fares best, sympathy-wise — he’s the most sensible of the three, and the most openly vulnerable — while Teller and Efron offer more fleeting glimpses of their characters’ sensitive sides. As he did in At Any Price, Efron uses callowness to good effect, giving his performance a conflicted edge. Jason’s a good guy who can be more than a bit of a jerk, and there are no excuses when he badly fumbles in another character’s hour of need.


Huffington Post - Dwight Brown
Efron, Teller and Jordan breathe a little life into their generic characters. Even more so, they present themselves as real friends, and the vibe the young actors create is the film's strongest element. Their friendship seems genuine, authentic. Not an easy feat, considering the material. Efron shows a promise and stability that will make him a respected big screen actor some day. Teller further perfects his perpetual smirk; he is destined to do bigger and better comedies, a la Seth Rogen. Michael B. Jordan is heading down the Morris Chestnut path. He sports his six-pack abs, brags about his manhood and sheds the tragic cloak of Oscar Grant from Fruitvale Station. He is his own man, now, versatile enough to play a romantic comedy, a thriller, a drama. Jessica Lucas, as his emotionally ambivalent lady friend is fine. Poots as Efron's kryptonite is sweet and layered. Davis as the gal who every guy wants to take to a bar exudes hip friendliness...

The three amigos save this picture. Efron, Teller and Jordan will use this as a calling card to let Hollywood know that they are ready for their close-ups. Making a ho-hum movie memorable, just for the performances, will do that.


Variety - Scott Foundas:
The pic falls well short of its efforts to combine the raucous vulgarity of the “Hangover” movies with Cameron Crowe-ish depth of feeling, but Gormican had the good fortune to cast one of the most interesting young actors in movies today, Miles Teller, and to surround him with an able-bodied cast that deserves better than most of what they’ve been given.

The three leads have an affable, easygoing chemistry. Efron isn’t asked to do much more here than prance around in his skivvies and, when his insensitive-jerk behavior catches up to him, look like a doleful puppy dog who’s been left out in the rain; but as skivvy-prancing, rain-soaked puppy dogs go, one could certainly do worse.


HeyUGuys - Joe Cunningham
Thankfully, due to the considerable charm of the three leads and the chemistry they strike up between them, the film always manages to just about toe the right side of the line.

With another three actors it could have been a totally different story, but in Efron they have an effortless leading man, in Jordan they have a fantastic young actor capable of taking on some of the heavier dramatic lifting, and in Teller they have a bonafide star of the future...

But for all of its shortcomings, the film still achieves frequent moments of hilarity, and the three leads are so good together that you end up having as much fun watching them as they’re clearly having together. It’s strikes just the right balance between the raunchier comedic moments and the sweeter romantic stuff, and even if the relationships aren’t exactly even-handed, there’s no denying that Efron and Poots, and Teller and Davis respectively, aren’t great on screen together. It’s a solid rom-com, even if it has much greater success with the com than it does with the rom.


About.com - Rebecca Murray
Zac Efron's charming as the lead and has matured into an actor capable of actually being the headliner of a feature film not aimed at teen girls...

That Awkward Moment starts off surprisingly strong, establishing the friendship while allowing the threesome to sound like real guys and that's actually what saves the film from being a toss-away comedy.  The three 20-something guys talk and act like genuine friends just hanging out. They're flawed, funny, and relatable, as are the women who screw up their plans to remain single.  That Awkward Moment doesn't always work, and it lives up to the 'awkward' title throughout the slow middle act, but there's enough laughs in its 90 minute running time to warrant checking it out for those who like their romances on the raunchy side. It's also the first romantic comedy I've sat through in years in which the audience enthusiastically clapped at the end, and not just because they were happy the movie was over.


Coming Soon - Edward Douglas
Possibly one of the hardest things to adjust to is that all three guys act like they're college fratboys though it's clear they've already graduated and are out there in the world working--Mikey is a doctor after all--so that rings somewhat false. Efron certainly seems to be playing a darker role and more serious than we've seen him, but it's the humor Teller brings to the mix and the general rapport between the three guys that tends to keep the movie from falling into romantic comedy drudgery when the plot goes to obvious places.

When Gormican's comedy brings the raunch, there are some generally funny visual gags that play well with an audience and Efron seems game to do whatever it takes to get a laugh even if it embarrasses himself. Maybe some of those gags are a little low-brow, but they actually do a lot to lighten the mood, offer some laughs and helps you to like the characters more, since some of the things that come out of their mouth are pretty questionable…

For a raunchy R-rated comedy, Gormican's debut is surprisingly sophisticated at times, and he even manages to achieve a certain level of John Hughes circa "Some Kind of Wonderful" by the end. Sure, maybe the blooper reel end credits are unnecessary after that, but the movie does know how to deliver on the laughs while still being true to its primary M.O. and that's sometimes hard to do.

The Bottom Line:
A bromantic comedy that looks at relationships from a male perspective without reinventing any wheels, "That Awkward Moment" sometimes comes off as uneven due to a semi-convoluted plot, but the cast brings their all to the material and eventually it does win you over.


ReelViews - James Berardinelli
In the fine tradition of most "classic" rom-coms of decades gone by, the "romance" element is considerably stronger than the "comedy" one. That's not to say That Awkward Moment is never funny but the screenplay is stingy with moments that inspire unbridled laughter. This approach serves the storyline well; the more low-key comedic style allows the characters and their interactions to unfold gradually rather than in a flurry of punch-lines...

There's nothing terribly original to be found in That Awkward Moment but the genre isn't known for breaking new ground. The average romantic comedy succeeds based not on narrative innovation but on two simple factors: chemistry between the characters and the ability of the filmmakers to convince the audience to root for the happily-ever-after ending. That Awkward Moment does an adequate job in both areas. The most fleshed-out of the characters, Jason, traverses the familiar road from "self-centered jerk" to "reformed rogue willing to commit," in a way that gets the viewer on his side. Daniel and Mikey have more perfunctory arcs and, as a result, their storylines are less satisfying.

Zac Efron, who has moved far from his Disney roots (in the 2012 film, The Paperboy, he had the distinction of being urinated on by Nicole Kidman), makes an appealing cad. More importantly, he and Imogen Poots exhibit the mix of sugar and sparks necessary to keep That Awkward Moment rolling along.


We Got This Covered - Jordan Adler
Summary:
That Awkward Moment's ace ensemble of twenty-something actors has charm and strong chemistry to spare, enlivening Tom Gormican’s inconsistent directorial debut...

That Awkward Moment fits in that awkward place between a wry, witty New York sitcom and a tired, tidy romantic comedy. For every moment of vibrant energy of single life in the big city that writer/director Tom Gormican nails, another scene of hackneyed romantic gooeyness comes along to dull the film’s comedic edge.

Fortunately for Gormican, this inconsistent relationship comedy gets the best efforts of an ace cast of twenty-somethings, including potent work from Sundance darlings Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan and the most assured performance of Zac Efron’s career. The stellar cast gives Gormican’s debut script both the charm and weight it lacks on the page.


View London - Matthew Turner
Enjoyable romantic comedy with likeable performances, a snappy, sharply observed script and central relationships that feel a bit more real than the usual formulaic nonsense, though it's never quite laugh-out-loud funny and it rather overdoes the toilet jokes...

Efron and Teller have engaging, likeable chemistry as best friends and there's strong support from both Poots (nailing the American accent once again) and Jordan, though Lucas is rather underdeveloped as Vera. However, the stand-out performance belongs to Mackenzie Davis (Breathe In), who's both charming and funny as Chelsea, matching filthy wise-cracks with Teller's character and generating a convincing chemistry.

Gormican's sharply observed script crackles with snappy dialogue (highlight: a line about Jason's job as a designer of book jackets) and at least feels like it has something to say about both male friendships and commitment-phobic twenty-somethings. Similarly, the two main relationships (Mikey's is too under-developed to count) feel much more realistic than the usual formulaic nonsense, largely because the characters are believably flawed.

...That said, the film's never quite as laugh-out-loud funny as it thinks it is - there are too many toilet/dick jokes for one thing - and a number of the gags fall flat, though it is at least consistently amusing. Similarly, for everything that the film gets right, there are a handful of key moments that fail to convince, such as Jason deciding not to accompany Ellie to a family funeral, because that would mean they were dating, or his choice of costume for what he thinks is a fancy dress party (admittedly a good sight gag, but inconsistent with what we've seen from Jason as a character).

Worth seeing?
Despite its flaws, That Awkward Moment is an entertaining romcom enlivened by a sharply observed script and likeable performances from a talented cast. As date movies go, you could do a lot worse. Worth seeing.


USA Today - Claudia Puig
The easy camaraderie among the trio of male leads lessens the clumsiness of That Awkward Moment.

...The story (** 1/2 out of four; rated R; opens Friday nationwide) is meant to venture beyond the limitations of the predictable rom-com, told as it is from a slightly raunchier twentysomething male perspective. However, it still adheres to most of the conventions of the genre. While it has the requisite amounts of comedy and romance, it's actually more of a buddy movie. Think Sex in the City, bro-style.
From a more cynical perspective, it's a Valentine's Day date movie that guys won't mind seeing, and women will find amusing enough and easy on the eyes.
Likable lead actors Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller have an appealing chemistry, though the material they're given lacks cleverness…

Some of the jokes fall flat, such as a recurring gag about Daniel's bathroom habit and a costume party mix-up (lifted from Bridget Jones' Diary and Legally Blonde). The formulaic concept at the core of the film — they all agree to lead unencumbered lives and enjoy a friendship like they had back in college — feels like the sort of rom-com contrivance rife for spoofing (a la How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days or Failure to Launch).

Jordan plays the most admirable character. Teller, with his puppy dog affability, has a natural gift for humor that rises above the limitations of the script. He deftly conveys his character's lovable vulnerability, making him the one we root for most to find happiness. Efron has an easy way of making his jerky charmer more engaging than he should be.

The balance between ribald comedy and sweet romance is not perfectly calibrated -- the film leans too heavily on bathroom humor -- but the guys seem to be having fun together.

That Awkward Moment is featherweight fare made worth watching because of the charm of the talented leads.


Examiner.com - Donald Shanahan
However, to another (and clearly younger) generation, "That Awkward Moment" will be an entertaining film that makes no bones about who and what it's portraying. They will like the chemistry of these three talented young actors and the shenanigans they get themselves in. They will like seeing these guys step out of their comfort zone with profanity, nudity, and hilarity. They will compliment the film for having the balls to call out the similarities and differences within a new, modern landscape of dating and relationships. They will enjoy the irresponsibility and gags that lead to three studs realizing the error of their ways. Most importantly, they'll realize that it's just a movie and not a dramatic mission statement for a new generation of men.

Mark this critic down among the latter generational explanation. I had a blast and so did the previews audience around me with this movie. "The Awkward Moment" is an oasis of fun in a dreary winter cinema landscape. This is one of those rare romantic comedies that can actually appeal to both genders.

The concept may sound familiar, but the setting and comedy feels fresh in "That Awkward Moment." This is not one of those films where all of the funny parts are in the trailer. For as shallow as these three guys appear to be, they all have a lot going on. While it's not on the level of Leonardo DiCaprio in "The Wolf of Wall Street," this is easily the most unfiltered and free Zac Efron has ever been in his short career as a leading man. The guy can hold his own and engage an audience beyond being another set of abs and a pretty face. Michael B. Jordan does lose a little bit as the mild-mannered member of the gang, but I think it's nice to see a guy step out and have fun in an easy kind of role, especially after something as somber as "Fruitvale Station."

The guy that steals the show is Miles Teller. If you've seen his witty and motor-mouthed charm in "21 and Over" and "The Spectacular Now," you will know that this is a part he was born to play. His energy is absolutely contagious. This is a much bigger stage than those two films and he's an absolute riot as the wild card. He's the fluid between the three that gets all of the chemistry going. Together, these three guys are clearly having fun and the result is immensely entertaining for all of us watching. Nevertheless, this is a keeper of a first-time feature from writer/director Tom Gormican. It has its rookie mistakes, hokey romantic contrivances, and still will get judged by half the audience as a possible Millennial atrocity, but I've seen far worse.


Bleeding Cool - Becky Lewis
This feels like Efron’s most natural performance yet, and Jason is the type of character that Efron should seek out more often – the good-looking confident but clueless guy, funny and full of heart…

Gormican also wrote the script, his first, and it often walks a fine line between unnecessary crudeness and genuine hilarity, but combined, Efron, Teller and Jordan have the charisma to ensure it never falls too far into vulgarity.


Empire - Anna Smith
Thankfully, said hero is Efron, who puts in an appealing performance as the conflicted player who shares plenty of chemistry with sparky love interest Poots.
 
 
Mood: coldcold
13 13 comments Comment
 
 
annabelle83 on February 1st, 2014 12:17 am (UTC)
Yeah, some critics were really unfair towards Zac. Some were tearing Zac apart saying he's playing the same character he played before then praising Miles as if Miles' character were much different from the ones he played before. Of course it's easier to pick on a (former) teen heartthrob playing the most unlikeable character in the movie among critically acclaimed young actors playing much nicer characters. However, there's still a possibility that Zac just can't compete with extremely talented actors like Miles or Micheal B, or that he was too coked up to give a good performance.

Edited at 2014-02-01 12:20 am (UTC)
kleth on February 1st, 2014 09:04 pm (UTC)
"Some were tearing Zac apart saying he's playing the same character he played before"

Yeah, John Wayne had the same problem. I didn't see anything wrong with Zac's performance. He was just as good as the other guys.
lilly4848lilly4848 on February 1st, 2014 01:04 am (UTC)
I just got home from a 5 o'clock show. There were about 20-30 people in the theater,mwhich I thought was pretty good given the day and time. I'd think more people would be there later. I probably would not have gone to see it if Zac wasn't in it, but I quite enjoyed the film actually. It also isn't something that I would go to see again and again, like I have done with his other films. Oh, and during the previews, they showed the trailer for Neighbors.

Edited at 2014-02-01 01:05 am (UTC)
Miranda gives everyone a chancemirandagirll on February 1st, 2014 01:30 am (UTC)
I mean I just got home from seeing it, and quite enjoyed it. I actually went in thinking I was really gonna hate Jason, while I was side-eyeing some of Jason's choices, I didn't hate him as much as I expected.

Also, Jessica Lucas is the prettiest girl ever and I now wish I was her.
kleth on February 1st, 2014 08:56 pm (UTC)
Well, I also have done my duty and helped to inflate the opening-day box office. My expectations for this film were more than fulfilled, unfortunately.

I am so irritated by this movie, in fact, that I don't think I will ever see it again. The basic problem is that I don't like "relationship" stories. That's me, your results may differ.

I also don't like beard stubble. How do they do it? At the end of the movie it's two months later, and Zac's stubble is exactly as long as it was at the beginning. Is this what women like? That could explain my low success rate in copulatory conquests. I shave before every date.

I was also put off by the endless patter between the characters in this movie. Talk, talk, talk. But of course, the plot depends on misunderstandings and lack of communication. So of course, no one talks about anything they might want or need to know. Jason screws up big time by not attending the funeral of his new girl's father. She didn't specifically invite him and he's in doubt. But he doesn't simply pick up his damned phone and ask her.

The basic premise is three guys who want to avoid getting entangled in relationships. Plenty of casual sex, of course, but no one wants to be accused of "dating." Oh, the horror.

From some of his remarks, I'm guessing that Zac adopted TAM as a kind of passion project. Maybe it's all just promo blather, but he seems to think it contains some original or insightful story elements. I don't see it.

I think, rather, that he sees something of himself in this movie. After his long and ultimately failed relationship, his vows not to marry before 40, if ever, and his subsequent time of wild partying and endless hook-ups, he may be identifying with his character in ways even he doesn't understand. Apparently, we're going to get more of this in Neighbors, where he plays another party animal who's reluctant to move on and grow up.

After seeing TAM, I ask myself: do people really live like this? I won't go into the morality of it all, since questions of virtue and vice are out of fashion and make some people uncomfortable, especially people in Hollywood and NYC. But several scenes pass beyond farce to unbelievable fantasy and destroyed my immersion in the story.

The biggest example (and I do mean big): After messing up with his new girl and convincing her to take him back, Jason decides to attend her birthday party with a giant dildo projecting from his pants.

In what universe has this ever happened? Maybe at some drunken fraternity kegger, but this was a birthday party and his first opportunity to meet her friends and family. This is how you introduce yourself?

Then (I'm not making this up) her father decides that Jason is kind of cool for sticking with the stunt instead of getting the hell out of there or at least removing the offending device. What father wouldn't have thrown him through the window if some deviant asshole showed up at his daughter's birthday party in that "costume"?

And in the end, of course, she keeps taking him back and taking him back, for no understandable reason (well, he does look an awful lot like Zac Efron). Everyone lives happily ever after.

I just didn't buy it.
hunny miss (aka lets fead him to the gators)ehs_wildcats on February 1st, 2014 10:19 pm (UTC)
"I think, rather, that he sees something of himself in this movie."

Bingo.

I haven't seen it yet, but of what I saw in the script this is exactly what happened.

Aliciapop86 on February 2nd, 2014 02:02 pm (UTC)
I thought the same thing when I saw it on Friday. He identified with Jason because he was living the same lifestyle.
Sapphirasapphia on February 2nd, 2014 08:03 am (UTC)
"What father wouldn't have thrown him through the window if some deviant asshole showed up at his daughter's birthday party in that "costume"?"
I totally agree. Thanks for the review. It was interesting to read.
The Writers Denmusewriter on February 2nd, 2014 04:58 am (UTC)
I saw it today. I liked it but didn't laugh nearly as much as I thought I would. Mostly because I started feeling sick halfway through but I'm hoping I can see it again when I'm feeling better to fully judge.

I didn't go in expecting much and it really was a bro rom-com through and through. At the end of the day it was a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon after a long week. I came out with a new love for Miles...he was hilarious! I didn't really like Zac's character and I really felt the story ended to abruptly. I would've liked to have seen more. Not my favorite movie Zac's ever done but definitely nowhere near his worst.</p>

Side note: The Neighbors trailer on the big screen was great. Having seen the movie already I really haven't been too excited for it but seeing the trailer kind of rejuvenated my excitement.

kleth on February 2nd, 2014 08:04 pm (UTC)
"I saw it today. I liked it but didn't laugh nearly as much as I thought I would."

It's not a ha-ha-ha comedy - more amusing than hilarious.

But I'm glad you liked it. I hope my rant above doesn't turn fans away who like this sort of thing. As I noted, I have a serious problem with "relationship" comedies. I am constantly arguing with the characters: "don't do that, that's stupid advice, there is no Dating Code you have to follow, just tell her what you think, if you are in doubt then ask her, etc. etc.
kleth on February 2nd, 2014 08:38 pm (UTC)
Here are my favorite lines from the above mass of reviews, to save you having to read through them all:

"Efron is an old-time leading man, an updated Tyrone Power"

"Efron shows a promise and stability that will make him a respected big screen actor some day"

"Efron isn’t asked to do much more here than prance around in his skivvies and, when his insensitive-jerk behavior catches up to him, look like a doleful puppy dog who’s been left out in the rain; but as skivvy-prancing, rain-soaked puppy dogs go, one could certainly do worse"

"in Efron they have an effortless leading man"

"Zac Efron's charming as the lead and has matured into an actor capable of actually being the headliner of a feature film not aimed at teen girls"

"Zac Efron, who has moved far from his Disney roots (in the 2012 film, The Paperboy, he had the distinction of being urinated on by Nicole Kidman), makes an appealing cad"

"the most assured performance of Zac Efron’s career"

"Efron has an easy way of making his jerky charmer more engaging than he should be"

"this is easily the most unfiltered and free Zac Efron has ever been in his short career as a leading man. The guy can hold his own and engage an audience beyond being another set of abs and a pretty face"

"This feels like Efron’s most natural performance yet, and Jason is the type of character that Efron should seek out more often – the good-looking confident but clueless guy, funny and full of heart"

There, that should make you feel better.
Bee: Zac – Details - looking away - redjeezbee on February 4th, 2014 05:06 am (UTC)
I see a lot of complaints in the reviews which I mentioned in my original script comments. I guess I did underestimate that it would come across even more clichéd and douchy as I said. Well, at least he got it out of his system now. It's clear that Zac (and even the other guys) were interested in this because they could relate to the characters.

I hope Zac learned from the experience. It seems to me that Zac falls in love with an idea of a movie/character but isn't experienced enough to separate an idea from a good/working plot with interesting characters. And I'm not talking only about TAM, eg. DIAG has similar issues - some great ideas but the actual plot isn't cutting it.

But the biggest issue turned out to be that they tried to be everything for everyone, and made a movie for no one. Outside of hardcore Zac fans (who will watch everything) there was very little interest in the movie. Too much romance for the guys and too much bro-stuff for the girls. You can overcome that with a really, really good movie where people just watch because it's good but this script never was that.

Oh well, hopefully the friendships and experience coming out of this will make up for what the movie was not.
Sapphirasapphia on February 18th, 2014 05:54 am (UTC)
When I saw the film, my first thought was: It happened exactly like predicted jeezbee.
"eg. DIAG has similar issues" - please explain what DIAG?