That Awkward Moment, the unfortunately-titled movie starring Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan, and Miles Teller, officially proves to me that, if there’s one type of movie that will never work, it’s the bro-mantic comedy. That sort of sounds like the main relationships in the movie are between really close BFFs à la Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson. And that’s halfway true, what with the three different romantic storylines that are connected by the best friendship the three main characters share. But, mostly, this movie wins the title of a brom-com (I’m really running with this) because it’s trying so hard to be a romantic comedy but also to be a buddy movie and it just doesn’t know which to choose. It even follows the typical formula which normally makes me all melty inside, but the rough mashup of bro humor and sweet romantic situations is where it all goes downhill.
It all starts with a meet-cute so sweet that four in five dentists recommend you floss and rinse right after watching it. Then, you get your very typical rom-com movie tropes, like how the two main characters have a one-night stand and then have an awkward run-in the next day because the guy snuck out of the girl’s trendy little apartment. And it ends with Boy performing some grand public gesture to prove to Girl that he is sorry for that thing he did and that she should turn that frown upside down because he ran all the way across town to profess his love. Although, I’ll hand it to them that they left out the clumsy women falling over trend that rom-coms love. And, then, to top it all off, it’s told from a male perspective, which is cool because with the exception of, like, About Time, we almost never get that. So, I can see why it seemed like a good idea once upon a time. But somewhere between providing a male voice and an endless stream of repetitive poop jokes, it lost its footing and then never stopped losing it.
I get how this could sound like I’m being sexist and trying to keep guys away from their right to a cheesefest and cathartic cry. “Mine,” I grunt from a corner with my lady yogurt and tampons, “girl only, boy not allowed.” (The me in that scenario is really into talking like a caveman, I don’t know why.) But I’m not, and I welcome everyone to the rom-com party. It’s just that I’m used to bringing tissues and heartfelt montages to these types of parties and don’t know what to do when a five-minute joke about rubbing one out with self tanner strolls on in uninvited. I know, you’re right in the middle of screaming “Who is this movie for?!” at the sky. But I can’t answer that and neither can the sky because no one actually knows.
I can appreciate the intention of filling the space in the movie world where all three of the half-Andy-Samberg-half-Ryan-Goslings live. But, like, maybe there was a wide open space there for a reason. Actually, I’m positive that there was a really good reason, because this movie is what you get when you try to create a Frankenstein monster out of The Notebook and 21 and Over. That’s a bad idea that never ever needed to happen. And, frankly, once you’ve seen one drunken boys’ night out that somehow turns into a lifelong relationship, you’ve seen them all.
(Photo: Focus Features via IMDb)