That Awkward Moment (2014) – Review

Honestly, I don’t know why this is. No, there isn’t a word missing from the last sentence. I just really don’t get the point of it at all. Firstly, I cannot get my head around who this is aimed at. If it’s young girls that like getting screwed over by young men who see them as nothing more than one of a harem of conquests, then okay, there is your audience. But really, young girls, enamoured as they may be with any or all of the men featured here, can’t possibly be that dumb, can they? If they are, well, I’ll take half a dozen.

Maybe it’s not aimed at that group at all (it so really is) but instead, a movie for young men, aspiring to be as fascile and irredeemably self-centred as those on screen, caring about nothing more than how many young, beautiful women they can get into bed without having to commit to a single one of them. These mostly perfect specimens (not Teller, obviously, but he is the funny one, so it’s all good) placed in the real world are initally actually repellent and almost hateful, and left to their own devices around my neck of the woods with a picture perfect smile and a nauseating patter that passes for a charm offensive, will get them a spitting mouthful of fruity four-lettered abuse and an enthusiastically delivered knuckle sandwich, and that’s just from the nice girls without tattoos. God help them if they ever ran into some of the really scary ones.
It takes the best part of an hour for the dick-waving to subside, but when it does, it becomes a much better picture, with our three male leads having to display more than just cocksure bravado. Whether you will still be in your seat by the time the second act weighs in with some kind of emotional heft is questionable, but if you are, albeit squirming uncomfortably, then your patience will be rewarded as you get to see the revelation of comeuppance and a healthy portion of reality rushing headlong at these initially carefree individuals. Growing up is an experience and a lesson that everyone needs (and one that these men should already be familiar with before now), but at least two of these chaps need it more than most. And the plot has a keen interest in taking them to school.
A film of two definitive halves and a somewhat predictable but mostly satisfying denouement. There are elements of the story that feel undernourished by the conclusion of this story, but the meat is there, even if the trimmings are noticeably absent. Efron, Teller and Jordan are all talented actors, of that there can be no doubt, and the narrative thread weaves out and then in areas of acceptability, allowing these performers to practice two distinct sides of their art. The script is grating in a first act that will probably annoy you, mellowing into a more considered second act and then really coming into its own by the conclusion.
What started out as a potentially awful example of humanity ended up being, although predictable, a very touching, sober and well rendered version of it. If only the story and script had been up to par throughout, this would have received far more acclaim. It is still an enigma as to how the film came into being given the perplexing first act and if this had to continued throughout, it would rightly have been panned for being mysoginistic, humourless and banal. Thankfully that didn’t happen, but it took its sweet time about it.



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