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That Awkward Moment (2014)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 5/13/2014
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 5/8/2014
I've written several times in the past about how Hollywood seems to be out of touch with the "common man" (and woman) when it comes to things like finances and real estate. The people portrayed as "ordinary, middle-class folks" in most movies would be considered as rich in real life. I've found that the same kind of myopia occurs with the portrayal of relationships as well. Who hasn't seen a television show where the man has no interest in his attractive wife or the husband is a buffoon and it's up to the woman to take care of everything. Is that really the norm in American households? That Awkward Moment trots out some more "interesting" views on the interactions between men and women and it's enough to make one wonder if romance is truly dead.
That Awkward Moment introduces us to three best friends who live in New York City. Jason (Zac Efron) and Daniel (Miles Teller) both work for a publishing house where they design book covers. Mikey (Michael B. Jordan) is a doctor. While Mikey is married to Vera (Jessica Lucas), Jason and Daniel love to spend their nights hitting the bars and trolling for women. Jason is notorious for never getting into a relationship. When Vera announces that she is leaving Mikey, the guys decide that they will now abstain from committing to women and live solely for "hook ups". Unfortunately, this is when Jason meets Ellie (Imogen Poots), a writer with whom he immediately feels a connection. Also, Miles notices that he is spending more time talking Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis), a friend who has helped him meet women in the past. Will they be able to resist the temptation of letting these relationships become something serious?
The initial premise of That Awkward Moment is that there are men (and it's only portrayed with men) who have no interest in a true relationship and break things off when the woman brings up the "So" moment, as in "So, where is this going?" Unless you're new to the planet, we know from the outset that Jason and Daniel are both going to be presented with situations where a serious relationship is inevitable. The audience realizes that somewhere in their world of random strangers, one of these guys is going to meet "the one" and not know what to do. Either that or they are going to realize that love has been right in front of them all along.
Therefore, much of That Awkward Moment doesn't feel very original. Where Writer/Director decides to shake things up is by making the characters here incredibly unlikable. Daniel comes across as a jerk to everyone, so it's not surprising that he's not in a relationship, but it is surprising that anyone would want to be around him. Jason is more of a conundrum, as he seems like a nice enough guy and it's clear that the ladies find him attractive, but he simply has no interest in anything long-term. OK, fine, I guess I can buy that. But, when he is mean to Ellie, the movie goes too far if it expects us to still be behind this character. The bottom line with Jason and Daniel is that we are presented with two characters who reject love. Now I don't want this to turn into a letter to the editor of Redbook, but given the number of lonely people out there who would make great sacrifices for love, this notion isn't going to win the movie many fans.
And then we have Mikey. Unlike Jason and Daniel, Mikey is married and clearly likes the idea of being in a relationship. The problem is that he likes it too much and when Vera announces that she wants a divorce, Mikey can't let go. This part of the movie is actually very realistic, but for a film which, in many ways, wants to be light-hearted (more on that in a moment), the portrayal of someone who allows themselves to be manipulated is difficult to watch.
This brings us to the tone of the film. On the one hand, That Awkward Moment wants to be a buddy comedy which offers a group of guys who talk raw and raunchy. One the other hand, it wants to offer a semi-serious investigation into relationships and how people stunt their own development. The problem is that it fails at both. I laughed out loud only once during the film and that was in the first ten minutes, so the rest of the movie was quite a challenging ride. Again the behavior of the characters may be realistic on some level, but the viewer needs to have at least one person to rally around and we don't get that here. (Ellie is likable, but we just want her to run away as fast as she can.) The final result is a movie which thinks that it's fun, but is actually a chore to finish. And I can believe that it missed the boat by not using Deadsy's song "The Key to Gramercy Park".
That Awkward Moment raises some interesting questions about Morris Chestnut on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 25 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no notable grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look very good, and despite several nighttime scenes, the image is never overly dark. The level of detail is good and the depth is what one would expect from a modern film on Blu-ray. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. There are several bar scenes in the film and these moments bring us obvious stereo and surround sound effects which place us amidst the action. The stereo separation is good and we get some detailed effects from the rear channels on occasion. Other than musical cues, I didn't note much in the way of subwoofer effects.
The That Awkward Moment Blu-ray Disc contains a handful of extras. "Moment of Truth: Behind the Scenes" (10 minutes) offers interviews with the cast and Director Tom Gormican who discuss how they got involved with the film, their characters, and what the production was like. This includes some on-set footage, but also a lot of clips from the film. "Character Profiles" (4 minutes) offers short snippets which look at Daniel, Ellie, Jason, and Mikey -- these have clips from the movie and a few quotes from the actors. "Threesome: More Awkward Moments" (9 minutes) has Efron, Teller, and Jordan interviewed together and describing various aspects from the film, including how their real lives compare to the situations in the movie. We also get to see where the comments seen in the previous extra came from. "Extended Gag Reel" offers 4 minutes of goofs and allows us to see that the shooting title was "Are We Officially Dating?".
Review Copyright 2014 by Mike Long