In every relationship there comes a moment when it’s time to get on board or bail. That moment when one party asks the other, “So…are we officially dating?” Three friends navigate relationships and that awkward moment in Are We Officially Dating? My review after the jump
When Mikey’s (Michael B. Jordan) wife announces she wants a divorce, his best friends Jason (Zac Efron) and Daniel (Miles Teller) support their buddy by making a pact to stay single and live it up together. Jason doesn’t usually have a problem staying single. He spends his leisure time carefully curating his “roster” of women like a fantasy football team, rotating the ladies as it suits his needs and dropping them when that awkward “so…?” moment appears. That changes when he meets Ellie (Imogen Poots), a woman who he can’t quite pin down, one who doesn’t fit the mold of a casual fling, no matter how hard he tells himself that’s all she is. Daniel is also struggling with keeping the pact, as he finds himself unexpectedly developing feelings for someone he’d never looked at in that way before. As for Mikey, well it’s not so easy for him to let go and he’s not about to give up without a fight.
Are We Officially Dating? (released as That Awkward Moment in the USA) is very much a romcom for the men (a bromcom perhaps?). It follows three very close friends as they navigate the dating world and try to get their heads around how the whole relationship thing actually works. The scenes between the three men work well, they have a natural chemistry and it feels like they are having a lot of fun just riffing and bouncing off each other. Michael B. Jordan and Zac Effron are extremely charismatic and despite the sub-par material they have to work with, the two have exceptional comedic timing. The blokeness of the film and of the characters in general is both the film’s strength and weakness. It works for the friendship/comedy side of things, but it fails when it comes to anything related to women.
I find it hard to believe that the writer/director Tom Gormican (co-producer Movie 43)has ever had a female friend, let alone be in relationship with a woman. If he had, it’s hard to believe he would write such weak, feeble-minded characters who would allow themselves to be treated so poorly. Ellie is played charmingly by Imogen Poots, but even this character who starts off with promise (i.e. a brain in her head), soon falls victim to the clearly brain-cell-zapping charms of Zac Effron’s Jason. It’s obvious that this is a young relationship film aimed at guys, but that doesn’t excuse the way it treats its female characters. These guys (especially Jason) are amusing assholes, the adult equivalent of the class clown. They mildly amuse, but it’s impossible to care about them at all. I didn’t want these guys to succeed – they are grade A womanising jerks who are rewarded for their slimy behavior.
Are We Officially Dating? was a tiresome 94 minutes, in which the best part was the outtakes in the credits. That’s never a good sign.
By Sam McCosh
Director: Tom Gormican
Writer(s): Tom Gormican
Starring: Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan, Miles Teller, Imogen Poots
Runtime: 94 minutes
Release date(s): USA: January 31 2014; New Zealand & Australia: February 13 2014