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'That Awkward Moment' review: Awkward, indeed

From left, Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan and

From left, Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan and Zac Efron in a scene from "That Awkward Moment." Credit: MCT

In the romantic comedy "That Awkward Moment," Michael B. Jordan plays Mikey, a young resident at a hospital whose wife is a successful lawyer. Unfortunately, they're divorcing. "I did what I was supposed to do," says the shell-shocked Mikey. "I checked the boxes."

You know this character: He's the one who did everything right yet somehow got everything wrong. As it happens, that's exactly the problem with "That Awkward Moment," a movie that checks absolutely every box and still utterly fails the test. Mikey may be only a peripheral figure here, but he turns out to be the sorry heart of this unimaginative, self-limiting imitation of a Hollywood rom-com.

Jordan, a soulful presence in the hard-hitting indie film "Fruitvale Station," is one of several likable and talented actors in "That Awkward Moment" who should be grateful that audiences have seen their better work. Others include Zac Efron ("Parkland") as Jason, a supremely confident ladies' man with a rotating stable of fillies, and Miles Teller ("The Spectacular Now") as Daniel, the hard-partying id with no verbal filter and a high alcohol tolerance. Of the film's three leads, only the fast-talking Teller wrings a little humor and charm from his tiresome role.

The plot hinges on the trio's pact to stay single, which, of course, doesn't last. Mikey crawls back to his adulterous wife (Jessica Lucas), Daniel crosses the friendship line with Chelsea (an appealing Mackenzie Davis) and Jason, a book-cover designer, quickly falls for aspiring author Ellie (Imogen Poots). The movie's title, which refers to the serious tipping point in every casual relationship, has a snappy ring to it but bears little relation to the story lines.

"That Awkward Moment," written and directed by Tom Gormican, tries to borrow some wit and charm from its Manhattan backdrop, but the more its characters talk about how special the place is, the more ordinary and irritating they sound. When a brokenhearted Jason cries into his beer, the obligatory barroom philosopher tells him, "Sometimes you win, sometimes New York wins." It sounds just like a line in a movie, and that's the only reason it's here.

PLOT Three men make a pact to stay single in New York City.

RATING R (language, sexuality)

CAST Zac Efron, Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan


BOTTOM LINE In a textbook on romantic comedies, a still from this movie could be included with the caption, "Figure 1: Wrong."

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