The Awkward Moment – Film Review – by Niall Curran – Released Jan 29th
Behold the Brom-Com
Billed as “The Brom-Com”, an ingenious new genre of romantic comedy dreamed up by the boffins in LA for the thousands of young couples stranded in cinema foyers desperately searching for a compromise on what film to see.
It stars Zac Efron, and is a first-time feature for actor-director Tom Gormican. On the surface it is a bawdy comedy with a plethora of appendage jokes that appeals to the young male in the couple. Strip away the thin layer of male braggadacio about keeping women in a roster system and you realise the boffins have cunningly inverted the traditional romantic comedy to focus on the lives of three men, as opposed to women, who learn the lessons of love.
Reminiscent in style of some of the John Hughes comedies of the 1980s with Zac Efron taking the role traditionally played by John Cusack but without the wide cast of characters that made his films such fun. Although the music used in the film despite being contemporary evokes the icy synths and studied nonchalance of the era.
Set mainly in lower East-Side Manhattan, it starts with Mikey (Micheal B Jordan) telling his two best friends, Jason (Zac Efron) and Daniel (Miles Teller) that he has split from his wife so they make a pact “that nobody changes their status” and they seek to give solace to Mikey by helping him enjoy the single life. Complications occur when Jason meets Ellie and Daniel becomes more than friends with Chelsea.
Despite its attempts to a appeal to the male of half of the young couple, the main attraction is Jason (Zac Efron), one of Hollywood’s leading hearthrobs, who is cast as the alpha male of the group but despite his carefree nature and ladies man sensibilities learns the importance of relationships and showcases his true sensitive nature. Poor Mikey (Micheal B Jordan) is a part so thinly drawn that he could be a cardboard cut-out and nobody would have noticed. The motormouth Daniel (Miles Teller), is excellent as the leading comic actor who delivers most of the snappy dialogue in the film but he lacks the spikiness required to be really funny. He always straddles the line of offence but unfortunately fails to cross for what would have added a badly needed edge to the film.
The plot is rom-com formulaic and fails to raise many laughs apart from some amusing sight-gags. It’s a great pity because the idea of satirising male sexual mores could be hilarious but the film instead descends into standard schmaltz. Also, its narrow focus on the main characters means that bit-part roles have little chance to shine apart from Fred who works in the same graphic design company as Jason and Daniel. Often in great comedies, the best lines are delivered in these small parts and the absence of many smaller parts was an opportunity missed.
If you like romantic comedies and are a fan of Zac Efron, go see it. For those expecting a riotous comedy, look elsewhere.