Zac Efron, Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan star in the R-rated comedy, 'That Awkward Moment,' about three best friends who find themselves where we've all been- at that confusing "moment" in every dating relationship when you have to decide "So...where is this going?"
As evidenced in 'Neighbors,' Zac Efron, like Channing Tatum, is much more comfortable in a comedic environment. Because of their hunk status, Hollywood miscast both of them as romantic leads for years. Throw Efron into a sappy love story like 'The Lucky One' and he turns wooden. Pair him with Seth Rogen and ask them to play off each other, suddenly it's casting genius. Even in smaller comedic bit parts Efron has excelled. His life-loving hippie in 'Liberal Arts' was one of that film's highlights. The key, when Efron is one of the main focuses, is to couple him with another seasoned comedic actor. That's why 'Neighbors' works, and that's why 'That Awkward Moment' most certainly does not.
'The Awkward Moment' is a ridiculous blend of melancholy romance, and gross-out R-rated comedy masquerading as some sort of life-affirming coming-to-adulthood dramedy. The problem is that Efron, who plays Jason, who is joined by Miles Teller (Daniel), and Michael B. Jordan (Mikey). Efron is asked to carry the comedy and the drama, both of which he just can't handle. Teller has shown a capability to carry a weighty dramatic movie with his work in 'The Spectacular Now,' and Jordan was phenomenal in 'Fruitvale Station.' What we get when all these guys are thrown together is a weird mish mash that never seems to play to their strengths. Teller is left to ramble on and on like a young Vince Vaughn, Jordan is asked to be the emotionally stable one while also being funny, and Efron is expected to keep the whole thing from going off the rails, which it does. Badly.
Jason, Daniel, and Mikey are twenty-somethings living in New York (stop me if you've heard this before). You know, they're the guys who talk about guy things. Who they last had sex with. When they plan on having sex again. And how many girls they plan on having all this sex with. Yeah, it's a trio of pretty deep individuals. Well, Mikey is the only one grounded in reality really. His long-time girlfriend is having an affair, and he's distraught about it. His buddies are there for him though. They're determined to get him laid.
Jason's the bad boy of the group. He's not looking for a relationship, so aren't we all surprised when it finds him? The adorable Imogen Poots plays Ellie, a smart girl who shouldn't be falling for such an absurd male. Yet, here she is. At first Jason thinks she's a hooker, and with as much class as he can muster, sneaks out on her the morning after they sleep together. Each of the guys soon develop relationships, which meander around the established rom-com formula, until everything ends just the way we predicted it would.
Honestly, the only noteworthy aspect of 'That Awkward Moment' is its non-existent pacing. Normally, we're used to rom-coms zipping through the required break-up and make-up scenes until it all eventually ends. 'The Awkward Moment' travels through the tropes, but at such a snail's pace that it almost fools you into thinking that it isn't following a formula at all.
The worst thing about the movie is how it takes such likable actors, completely miscasts them, never plays to their strengths, and doesn't ever realize it. It just keeps going and going, providing more of an awkward viewing experience rather than any really awkward moments. What comedy is there feels unnatural. Each outlandish situation the guys find themselves in feels like a slightly more serious storyline ripped straight from an uninspired sitcom. And that's just what 'That Awkward Moment' is: uninspired.
The Blu-Ray: Vital Disc Stats
This is a straight-forward release. It comes to Blu-ray courtesy of Sony, with a single 50GB Blu-ray. No DVD. No Digital Copy. Just a barebones release, with a standard Blu-ray keepcase.
True to Sony standards, 'That Awkward Moment' is anything but awkward when it comes to its video presentation. Noticeable right from the start is the clarity that's achieved in close- and mid-range shots. There's some stellar detail to be had in many of those scenes.
Contrast is never overblown. The darker areas of the picture offer some great delineation. Shadows never crush in any way. Sometimes, small rom-coms such as this tend to waver in the blacks, simply because they may not have the production values of higher-budget affairs. Not so here. The black areas are strong. There wasn't even an instance of banding that I noticed. There aren't many times that the disc can really show off. Instead it offers a solid, consistently strong video presentation.
As with other rom-coms, 'That Awkward Moment' is heavily centered up front. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix does a fine job at creating as varied a listening environment as possible, given what it has to work with. The vocals offer clear, intelligible dialogue. Pans and directionality are seamless.
There are a few moments that the mix allows for rear channels to express some sound. Not many though. The rear channels offer some distinct ambient noise during parties, in restaurants, and the goings-on of busy New York streets. On one hand this is a very standard audio mix as far as Blu-ray is concerned. On the other, it doesn't mess anything up, it provides a clear presentation, and in the end that's all you can really ask of it.
At first it feels innocuous, bordering on juvenile. Once it overstays its welcome, manages to create unlikable characters from three likable actors, and doesn't have much to show for it, that's when you know this is going nowhere. There's just nothing all that interesting or worthy of your time here. Sure, it has a pretty decent Blu-ray presentation. That's not enough to warrant a recommendation. At the very best it's a rental, as long as you've already seen everything else out there that remotely interests you.