January 31, 2014 at 1:00 am

Review: Horndog comedy 'That Awkward Moment' lacks flavor

Miles Teller stars as one of three men so determined to enhance his friendship with his buddies they claim to swear off women in 'That Awkward Moment.' (Focus Features)

“That Awkward Moment” tackles that awkward moment when two of 2013’s most promising young stars, “Fruitvale Station’s” Michael B. Jordan and “The Spectacular Now’s” Miles Teller, follow up their breakthrough roles with a horndog bro comedy opposite Zac Efron.

Yet as these things go, “That Awkward Moment” gets along capably, with good-to-decent laughs sprinkled throughout and believable chemistry among its leads. Teller, especially, has the bulletproof confidence and sly charm of a young Vince Vaughn, his smart aleck wit ready to boil over at any moment. His scenes with Mackenzie Davis (who plays his girlfriend, Chelsea) could come from another, more interesting movie about young 20-somethings in New York.

Instead we have Jason (Efron), Daniel (Teller) and Mikey (Jordan), friends who swear off girlfriends after Mikey is dumped by his cheating wife. Their pact is meant to show solidarity, but as a plot-driver, it lacks the heft needed to carry the movie — or to make the audience care. All three develop relationships they don’t tell each other about, and eventually learn women do not threaten their video game time or their brohood. This is what passes for a life lesson in “That Awkward Moment.”

The movie exists in a fantasy world where Jason, who works as a book jacket illustrator, has a spacious New York loft P. Diddy would envy. Those quibbles aside, writer/director Tom Gormican’s attempts to mix sex gags (there’s a Viagra set piece and a long-running joke about Mikey’s accidental below-the-belt use of self-tanner) with romantic comedy conventions come up short on either end.

“That Awkward Moment” wants to be part “American Pie” and part “Swingers.” It doesn’t get there, but thanks to its cast, watching it try has its moments.

‘That Awkward Moment’

'That Awkward Moment'

GRADE: C+

Rated R: For sexual content and language throughout

Running time: 94 minutes

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