That-Awkward-MomentThere are more than a few times in the opening hour of Tom Gormican’s That Awkward Moment where it appears the film is veering dangerously close to becoming Bros in the City. Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller play three twenty-something guys who live and work in New York City, and they spend an awful lot of time focused on girls, picking up girls, negotiating their sex lives and relationships and so on. The Sex and the City comparisons remain apt throughout, but it’s when things gravitate towards Entourage territory and the bros become total dudeskis that things threaten to become a little alienating. Thankfully, due to the considerable charm of the three leads and the chemistry they strike up between them, the film always manages to just about toe the right side of the line.

With another three actors it could have been a totally different story, but in Efron they have an effortless leading man, in Jordan they have a fantastic young actor capable of taking on some of the heavier dramatic lifting, and in Teller they have a bonafide star of the future. Without this review descending into a Miles Teller love-in, a point of quite how good he is simply has to be made. He can go all-out bro and remain likeable in one scene, and then be utterly convincing moments later, delving into his character’s vulnerability. He’s also incredibly funny, almost reminiscent of a young Tom Hanks. There’s no reason he couldn’t enjoy a similar career trajectory (yes, Oscars included) if he picks his roles well.

Despite an unconvincing plot contrivance that sees the three guys enter into an agreement that they’ll all stay single, they each find themselves engaged in relationships and at a point where they have to face up to where things are going. For Efron, it’s Imogen Poots’ dialled down manic pixie dream girl. For Teller, it’s a friend who’s become more than just a friend (a fantastic Mackenzie Davis, who deserves more screen time). As for Jordan, it’s a refreshing change of pace, as a second chance with his estranged wife (Jessica Lucas). It’s interesting to see their personalities modulate depending on whether they’re around the guys or with their respective girls, and it’s unfortunate that the aforementioned plot contrivance robs them of a more nuanced depiction of the dilemma of commitment. Instead we see them engaged in a strange battle against their burgeoning relationships, whilst fighting on another front to maintain the façade that they’re absolutely not in one.

It would also have been nice to get a sense that this wasn’t totally one-sided, and that the decision to commit isn’t only for men whose partners of course seek commitment. There’s a decent attempt at an inversion of this in Jordan’s thread, but unfortunately his wife’s character is paper-thin, and while Poots’ character is easily the best drawn of the female roles, she’s extremely badly-served by the script in the final act.

But for all of its shortcomings, the film still achieves frequent moments of hilarity, and the three leads are so good together that you end up having as much fun watching them as they’re clearly having together. It’s strikes just the right balance between the raunchier comedic moments and the sweeter romantic stuff, and even if the relationships aren’t exactly even-handed, there’s no denying that Efron and Poots, and Teller and Davis respectively, aren’t great on screen together. It’s a solid rom-com, even if it has much greater success with the com than it does with the rom.