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In what can only be tenable as some sort of latter-day update of the eighties teen sex farce (right down to its weirdly retro soundtrack) That Awkward Moment spotlights the lives and horizontal adventures of three young men going kicking and screaming into adulthood.  The difference between the dumb, libidinous capers of Porkyís, Losiní it, Private Resort, Private School, et al, and this film is the fact that these are not hormonal high school sophomores; they are men in their mid-twenties, out of college, supposedly ready to be something in the world.  That they are hopelessly arrested in an unattractive level of manchildhood, yet still somehow manage to wrap females of stunningly low-esteem and standards around their fingers (and other body parts) is utter wish fulfillment by the filmmakers for the audience to suffer through.  Crude, gross, shallow and infantile, this puerile trash makes even the dumbest eighties comedy seem Oscar-worthy by comparison.   

Jason, Daniel and Mikey are three pals who have somehow made it midway through their second decade without the encumbrances of responsibility or seriousness about a female.  They spend any spare time from their seemingly responsibility-free jobs in yuppie-filled dive bars trawling for easy hook-ups.  Correction; Mikey did actually marry his college sweetheart, but for the sake of giving him something to do in this movie, said wife informs him she wants a divorce in the filmís first minutes.  Being such great chums, Jason and Daniel - not really doing anything different - pledge to stay single in sympathy with their heartbroken friend, while possibly having changes of heart about their own levels of commitment.

With its barrage of trendy New York location shots (They mustíve used the heck out of that tax credit), including some that donít make sense (One long exterior shot of Little Italy then switches to the characters walking in Union Square.), I wonder if the filmmakers were going for a sort of Sex and the City for the Entitled Generation  They didnít seem to understand that theyíve created a story where Manhattan is nothing more to this gaggle of yuppie jerks with too much disposable income than a bodily fluid dumping ground.  The lack of intelligence, insight, irony, maturity or cleverness that saturates this dreck renders That Awkward Moment unfit to dust off SatCís Jimmy Choos.  

Amongst the many things wrong with this movie, the female characters are an insult.  There isnít one worth mentioning except as plot devices to the menís sexploits.  Thereís the aforementioned cheating wife who gives her spouse some incredible spiel about their not planning to have kids as an excuse for her infidelity.  Perhaps that shouldíve been discussed before you got married?  There is the obligatory, one-of-the-guys galpal who serves as a shill for the boysí pubside hookups.  We never really learn much about that particular female, who predictably attaches to Daniel, the crude(est) friend, other than anything he does is okay with her as long as they have sex; she has no emotions or desire for anything else for herself.   Still, there she is, ready to be the one who suddenly brings meaning into the life of the irrepressible cad.  We do discover she comes from a ridiculously wealthy family whose ostentatious, Waldorf-sized Thanksgiving dinners could fund a small country.  Donít even get me started on the gigantic, blindingly pricey living spaces all through the film.  How can two book cover designers of some of the worst art Iíve ever seen afford a multi-room, hardwood floor demiloft in downtown Manhattan?  There wasnít much to remember about the main chick; the dream girl Efronís wastes his time and ours denying his feelings for, except my hands kept twitching with their need to grab a brush and comb out her maddeningly unkempt goldilocks.  This girl is so immediately enamoured of Efronís Jason, that his hasty departure after theyíve had sex within the first few minutes of meeting, which he later explains was due to his assumption that she was a hooker, is perfectly forgivable.  The only true moment of comedy occurs when Jasonís incomprehensible misunderstanding of his new squeezeís straightforward invitation to her dress up birthday celebration finds him entering the elegant affair with a dildo hanging out of his pants.  Thatís not the funny part:  After heís introduced to the girlís parents, he not only hasnít the sense to remove said phallus, but continues wearing it all through the party; an act for which her father expresses not only approval, but admiration.  Iím sure this is the exactly the quality every dad wants in the man who courts his little girl.  That bizarre parent is introduced only long enough to magically die a few minutes later, which allows our jerk ďheroĒ to use his non-attendance of the funeral to make the statement that the couple are not really boyfriend and girlfriend.  Yes.  Bottling the combined charm of these characters would keep the Summerís Eve company in business for a lifetime.

The only sympathy or feeling we have in the entire movie is for Mikey, the only mature member of the trio, played by Fruitvale Stationís Michael B. Jordan, as the only one whose character has even a hint of depth - a hint and thatís all.  Mikey is the one who ďchecked all the boxes,Ē and did everything right, but whose wife suddenly, inexplicably deserts him for another man.  Maybe she didnít like his friends?  Jordan also appears to be the only one taking his performance seriously, which seems an awful waste.  Miles Tellerís Daniel is an obnoxious, one-note, crude joke machine, and as Jason, Zac Efronís bulked-up muscles have smothered any charisma or visible talent he might have shown in Me and Orson Welles.

Itís just vile.  I have no idea how something like this was ever made.  Itís particularly troubling that this was released by Focus Features; primarily known as the prestige movie company responsible for provocative and excellent fare like Blood Simple, Billy Elliot, Lust, Caution, Being John Malkovich, Milk and Lost in Translation.  Whahoppen?  Focus went way out of focus when it greenlighted this disaster.  Itís mind-boggling that it got past the pitch stage.

Towards the end of That Awkward Moment, thereís a scene where a taxi hits one of the characters, obviously for the riotous laughter sure to ensue.  I gave that cab a standing ovation and was bereft when I discovered it didnít finish the job.

 

~ The Lady Miz Diva

January 31st, 2014

 

 

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