That Awkward Moment review: I want a shower, I want to be hosed down

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That Awkward Moment red light Imogen Poots Zac Efron

This is like the Mirror Universe, evil-goatee-wearing flip side of Don Jon, a pile of obnoxious, grossout junk.
I’m “biast” (pro): I’ve been eager to see what sort of grownup roles Zac Efron would gravitate toward

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

That awkward moment, That Awkward Moment would have us believe, is when the girl a dude has been fucking for six weeks (in between all the other girls in his “roster” he’s also been fucking the whole time, unbeknownst to her) acts like there’s something approaching a relationship between two adult people happening, because chicks, urgh, always with the emotions, amirite? The actual awkward moment of That Awkward Moment is when you suddenly realize that writer-director Tom Gormican — whose only other credit is as a producer on Movie 43, and I’m stunned that anyone would admit to such a thing — thinks we will genuinely care that his manipulative asshole of a protagonist suddenly discovers that he might be a human man. With — urgh — emotions and everything.

Perhaps the only cinemagical thing about this pile of grossout junk, though it’s a black-hole sort of magic, is that it drains Zac Efron (Parkland) of all the charm he has previously displayed onscreen: As jerk-about-town New Yorker Jason, he is so powerfully unappealing that it’s impossible to imagine how he manages to convince any woman to overlook his carefully calculated smarm long enough to remain in the same room with him, never mind get into bed with him. (We aren’t even “treated” to a display of Jason’s seductive methods: chicks are just that easy, I guess, before they start getting so emotionally demanding.) Nor do we ever understand just how he convinces his best friends, Daniel (Miles Teller: The Spectacular Now) and Mikey (Michael B. Jordan: Chronicle) to eschew any and all human emotions when it comes to women so that they can continuing hanging out together forever. (Guys are just that easy, I guess, when the prospect of eternal beer and Xbox is on offer. Sexist movie is at least sexist all-inclusively.)

The small details — from the running “joke” about defecation to the obnoxious and overbearing soundtrack — are bad enough. But the big picture is horrible. For, naturally, Jason starts falling for Ellie (Imogen Poots: The Look of Love), if falling in love could be likened to being stricken with walking pneumonia. And while she shouldn’t give him the time of day after the offensive assumptions he voices about her to her face, she does… and then he proceeds to treat her like a virus to be violently expelled from his body.

This is like the Mirror Universe, evil-goatee-wearing flip side of Don Jon: instead of one sad messed-up guy learning that life is bigger and warmer and so much nicer than he imagined, one pathetic, twisted jerk puts up a mighty fight to remain as cold and hard as any real man should be. This is fun for no one.

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Fri, Jan 31, 2014 10:41am

The eternal appeal of the lucrative manchild market, I guess. Women Scary! Guys Simple! Let’s all play XBox™ and eat McDonalds™!