Part of the reason some people don’t agree with film critics is because (generally speaking) most people’s opinions on a movie are affected by how much they like it. Film critics, meanwhile, strive to judge a movie on its quality alone and to remove their biases and personal tastes from the equation. It causes real problems when enjoyable but dumb movies are released. How “good” people find That Awkward Moment to be is going to be largely affected by how much they like it. Let it be said, though: it’s a hard movie not to like.
Jason, Daniel, and Mikey are three twenty-somethings living the life in New York. After Mikey (the only one of the them in a relationship) suddenly finds himself divorced, Jason and Daniel make a vow that none of the three of them will get into any relationships.
Of course, soon after they make their pact, Jason finds himself in love with a young woman who just gets him; Daniel discovers feelings for his wingwoman and long-time friend; and Mikey and his wife start hooking up again. Since the three men all made a pact, they all hide their secret relationships from each other, leading to the expected farcical scenes.
That Awkward Moment’s plot and story are cliché at best and stupid at worst. Meanwhile, the dialogue is amazingly sharp and the rapid-fire banter of quips feels like a spirited blend of Kevin Smith and Aaron Sorkin. It’s hard to believe the same person who constructed the dumbly derivative story also crafted such natural and hilarious dialogue.
The dialogue is helped by the movie’s ace card: the palpable chemistry of its lead actors. Zac Efron (effectively shedding his High School Musical days), Michael B. Jordon (of 2013’s excellent Fruitvale Station), and Miles Teller (of 2013’s even-more-excellent The Spectacular Now) play Jason, Mikey, and Daniel, and all are perfect in their roles. What’s more, you believe in their friendship. Their shorthand references and hyper-natural conversations are amazingly fun to watch, and elevate the whole movie.
It’s hard to think of a recent movie that’s average in so many ways but still so darned enjoyable. The ludicrous story and a few plot threads that strain to be funny somewhat hurt the film, but the honest camaraderie of the three leads and the whip-smart dialogue almost make up for it. It would be wrong to say That Awkward Moment is a great movie, or even a very good one. But it would be equally wrong to not admit it’s one of the most fun movies of the last few months.