Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Things To Do

Review: 'That Awkward Moment' is just that

By Steve Persall

Times Movie Critic

Promising young careers take a bumpy detour in That Awkward Moment, which is the kind of movie that can push an actor back from the cusp of stardom.

Not for long, though. The three young stars biding time in Tom Gormican's listless rom-com are too gifted for one mediocre movie to bury.

Former Citrus County resident Miles Teller's performances in The Spectacular Now and the recent Sundance winner Whiplash place him among Hollywood's brightest new stars. Michael B. Jordan joined that list around the same time, playing the doomed hero of Fruitvale Station. Zac Efron was bred as a Disney let's-put-on-a-show pony but check out At Any Price or even a dog like The Paperboy for a talent striving to mature.

None of them needs That Awkward Moment at this time in their lives.

Gormican, whose only previous screen credit is co-producing last year's abysmal Movie 43, claims in interviews that his movie is inspired by William Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost, in which case the Bard should sue for defamation of his characters. Like the play, That Awkward Moment has three words in its title, and a story of three bachelors taking a vow to remain single and not sticking to it. We can all agree that Shakespeare didn't have booty calls, horizontal position urination and enormous sex toys in mind.

Efron is the lead dog Jason, a book cover designer — you can judge by them, he insists — and serial seducer until meeting Ellie (Imogen Poots), whom he "hilariously" confuses for a prostitute. Teller makes good use of his innate bro-ness as Daniel, whose pick-up strategy involves using a wing-woman named Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis) with friendship benefits making him reconsider his buddy vow. Jordan's Mikey inspired the pledge when his wife, Vera (Jessica Lucas), walked out but he's holding on for reconciliation.

The best jokes in That Awkward Moment are obviously improvised, an impression reinforced by the end credits outtakes reel, a tell-tale sign of comedy desperation since Cannonball Run. Teller is the cast member with the best chops for spontaneously contributing; everyone else often appears embarrassed by what they're doing and saying. Not that the material is daring, or even funny in a shocking way. Characters simply do whatever it takes for the movie to proceed.

In the end, the disappointment of That Awkward Moment is just a speed bump to success. Teller has four movies being released in 2014 including Whiplash and the fantasy franchise starter Divergent. Jordan is gearing up to play Johnny Storm in a Fantastic Four reboot (with Teller rumored to join him). Efron has the frat house comedy Neighbors with Seth Rogen ready for theaters. There's too much on the horizon for them — or us — to dwell on one awkward movie.

Steve Persall can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8365. Follow @StevePersall on Twitter.

Comments
Twin sisters from Tampa helping shape Fox’s ‘Empire’ say they’d like to tell Tampa stories

Twin sisters from Tampa helping shape Fox’s ‘Empire’ say they’d like to tell Tampa stories

JaNeika and JaSheika James’ television obsession was fueled by scarcity and convenience. As self-described "military brats" living in Germany, the girls treasured the VHS tapes their grandmother shipped overseas filled with English-language Saturday ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Review: American Stage hits 'The Producers' out of the park

Review: American Stage hits 'The Producers' out of the park

You might want to hurry up and get tickets for American Stage in the Park at Demens Landing.
Updated: 2 hours ago

Tuesday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYBaseballTwins at Yankees6:30 p.m.MLB; 1040-AMRays at Orioles7 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMMarlins at Dodgers10 p.m.FSFCollege baseballCoastal Carolina at North Carolina6 p.m.ESPNUMississippi at Mississippi State7 p.m.SECCreighton at Nebraska7:30 p.m.Big ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Blueberry Festival returns with special Brooksville touches

Blueberry Festival returns with special Brooksville touches

When the Florida Blueberry Festival made its debut in downtown Brooksville in 2012, it drew both praise and criticism. When state organizers pulled out last June, that also drew both sneers and cheers.But when the Brooksville Blueberry Festival debut...
Published: 04/23/18
SoundBytes: Tracy Morgan, Nipsey Hussle, Jimmie Vaughan and more

SoundBytes: Tracy Morgan, Nipsey Hussle, Jimmie Vaughan and more

— Tracy Morgan is coming to the Capitol Theatre in Clearwater. He'll perform there on Nov. 2. Tickets are $49.50 and up. Click here.— Former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley is returning to the Capitol Theatre on Nov. 9. Tickets are $35 and up....
Published: 04/23/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for April 24

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for April 24

Waitress: The Broadway hit musical based on Adrienne Shelley’s film follows Jenna, a waitress stuck in a bad marriage and a small town. 7:30 p.m., Carol Morsani Hall at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $45-$128....
Published: 04/23/18
Dwayne Johnson turns down promposal, but rents a movie theater for her instead

Dwayne Johnson turns down promposal, but rents a movie theater for her instead

STILLWATER, Minn. — An eastern Minnesota teen who asked her celebrity crush Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to prom got a huge surprise when he actually responded. The Pioneer Press reports that Stillwater Area High School Senior Katie Ke...
Published: 04/23/18
Janet Jackson coming to Tampa

Janet Jackson coming to Tampa

A mere three years after her last trip to Tampa, Janet Jackson is on her way back.
Published: 04/23/18
Janelle Monae coming to St. Petersburg

Janelle Monae coming to St. Petersburg

Getting tickets for Janelle Monae?
Published: 04/23/18
Janelle Monae coming to Jannus Live in St. Petersburg

Janelle Monae coming to Jannus Live in St. Petersburg

Janelle Monae's Dirty Computer, which drops this Friday, is one of most music watchers' most anticipated albums of 2018.Looks like the R&B star will follow it with one of the year's most anticipated tours.Monae's Dirty Computer Tour will take her to ...
Published: 04/23/18