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Arts and Entertainment

Bros Before Hos: The Guy Code Rules 'That Awkward Moment'

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That Awkward Moment, written and directed by Tom Gormican (co-producer of Movie 43), follows three 20-something bros and their “dating” habits in New York City. While our expectations for the film were really low—and a recent viewing didn’t do much to change that opinion—we did find a couple of laugh-out-loud moments (mostly thanks to penis humor). To describe the film in relationship terms—the movie is good for a night, if that, but if you’re expecting something more meaningful, then look elsewhere.

The film stars Michael B. Jordan, Miles Teller and Zac Efron (one of the movie’s executive producers), as dudes you’d marry, date and shag, respectively. These guys are having fun in the city, with Jordan playing a doctor, and Efron and Teller as book jacket designers who are talented goof-offs. Efron’s character Jason must be a really talented artist because he lives alone in a great, spacious (aka unaffordable) apartment.

We first meet Jason as he’s having an awkward moment with one of the girls on his "roster." As she’s getting dressed in his apartment, she asks that red flag question, “So, where is this going?” She says that she needs to date someone that doesn’t drink coffee out of cereal bowls, which he’s doing, and he wholeheartedly agrees. Jason admits in a voiceover that he didn’t even know they were dating. (And really that coffee bowl/slob scene bugs us because Jason's not a slob—he has a neat apartment, and he's a fashionable clothes hound. But we digress...)

The three friends make a pact to avoid relationships in a sort of solidarity for Mikey (Jordan), who's just been dumped by his wife. Jason and Daniel (Teller) are encouraging him to get out there and start building a roster of his own.

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Jason’s not a very likable character. You know the type. He’s selfish, noncommittal, manipulative and lives by the “bros before hoes” mantra. And we the women he dates overlook all those faults because he’s just so damn good-looking—and Jason takes full advantage. When he picks Ellie (Imogen Poots) up at a bar, he post-coitally mistakes her for a hooker and sneaks out of her apartment in the dead of night. He tells his friends that he had to get out of there because he has no money (again, then how can he afford that apartment)?

Ellie’s not a hooker, but the girl of his dreams. Sort of. He just doesn’t know it yet. He gets a second chance with Ellie by drawing her something cute, but then proceeds to pull a really dick move when she needed him the most. Efron’s got a really cheesy monologue at the film’s climax (in front of a roomful of people, of course) to ask Ellie for a third chance. It feels fake and forced. Efron’s unconvincing, and all we can think of is—run girl! Unfortunately, he’s no John Cusack when it comes to the big, romantic gestures.

The other two characters are more palatable. Daniel is similar to Teller’s character Sutter in The Spectacular Now—they’re up for a good time, but end up falling for girls who were their friends first. Teller has a charm and an affability that comes across easily onscreen, but we hope that he doesn’t get pegged into that type of role.

Who can’t be typecast right now is Jordan. In a 180-degree turn from his powerful role as Oscar Grant in the indie drama Fruitvale Station, Jordan shows that he’s a talent to be reckoned with in romance and comedy, too. Even with the lackluster material, Jordan plays the sensitive, cuckolded husband expertly—and he’s not afraid of a little gross-out penis humor either.

That Awkward Moment is out today.