Though lacking MANY MANY things, #AwkwardMoment not too bad
So I spent my Thursday night not dancing up a storm at my favorite Baton Rouge club like I usually do, but instead in the company of Zac Efron and his cronies in the surprisingly decent but cheesy as hell That Awkward Moment. Aside from being the ultimate guys-guy-meets-Sex and the City-but with pretty abysmal writing-chick flick, it was eight dollars that could have gone toward a drinking problem… And it wasn’t THAT bad.
The film starts off almost EXACTLY like I had planned the original beginning of my first screenplay: an abrupt halting of time right before the climax of the whole film that turns into a general hashing out of the events that brought the main protagonist to this point in the plot. I even had park benches in mine! Nevertheless…
The whole film is cute. From the gorgeous cast to the forgettable plot devices, the film does not set out to do anything but entertain. And that’s exactly what it does. Overall, it was a solid chick flick… Except for one major flaw: the relationships.
I mean, there are three central relationships that move the plot along: Zac and Ellie, the normal-looking funny guy and the wing woman, and lastly the separated husband and wife. Seeing as the majority of people in my theater (and general target audience for this film) were females 18 and above, I’m genuinely surprised at the message the film sends to girls who are unsure of themselves in relationships. They are told that guys do indeed come around, they do change and that the girl should just accept them for who they are. It’s a very normal pattern that most
chick flicks romantic comedies tend to take. The difference is that here the producers tell the audience that girls should put up with that type of behavior.
Let’s take the first example: normal guy and wing woman.
In this one, the audience is told that it is okay for a guy to lie about his relationship status if he is afraid of commitment if and only if he is willing to say he loves you and in some grand dramatic fashion. What the viewer will be trained to see is that their guy will eventually come around and give them the respect they deserve. Or as the wing woman gently out it while lying in bed cuddling, “I know the way you’ve treated other girls in the past, and I want to make sure [what we’re doing] is not like that.” It’s great if the guy is going to change and make her a part of his life fully, but that is usually not the case in real life.
And into the next relationship: Zac and Ellie.
So Zac says all of the things a bad boy with a good soul would say: you know, acting kind of douchey and show-offy with his friends, but being the most romantic guy who truly understands you when he’s around Ellie. The only issue here is that when it comes time for Zac to change fully into the good guy who is there for Ellie when she needs him most, he runs as fast as he can in the other direction. I mean, this guy hauls ass. There is a dust cloud in his shape where he was before running off. And even after all of that, Ellie goes back to Zac because he’s a “changed man.” This character maturity does not necessarily occur in the real world lol. And definitely not as fast as it would seem in the film. It’s just not as realistic a portrayal of actual relationships. But rather, it’s the idealized, romanticized version that consumers line up to see. I mean, who doesn’t want to see Zac and Ellie make it work at the end? If you didn’t then you have no soul.
And the last relationship: the separating couple.
This woman cheated on her amazing husband and he was devastated. The only reasoning given was that the husband was not spontaneous. There was no exploration or depth to their relationship; it was very much on the surface. Which, come to think of it, makes total sense since this is a chick flick. The only good part is that the man had enough sense to leave the wife after he finds out that she had continued to cheat on him. So bravo, screenwriters!
In terms of the actual story…
There were so many holes in the plot I could funnel a whole circus through it. From a relationship with a girlfriend’s dad that didn’t go anywhere to an underdeveloped relationship with another girlfriend’s father that did not allow the viewer to comprehend the effects of that father’s passing away on the rest of the cast, the screenwriters did not give the connections they needed to push the plot forward. Instead, it seemed as if the storyline leaped forward multiple times during my viewing. And this could be the result of the production house making the film fit into a specific genre they know will sell. I mean, there were some pretty interesting plot points developed, including the brunch scenes, the gaming scenes, hell even the party scenes. These showed just enough to convey what needed to be conveyed and his just enough to where the whole story was not talked about; it challenged (however slightly) the viewer to pick up on context clues and understand the story using his or her brain. Altogether, though, it was still pretty terrible.
But then, we didn’t really go to see the film for the plot points, now did we? The thing about films like this is that it gives us hope. To take a line from one of the surprise hits of 2013, Don Jon, the chick flick is porn for females. It makes women believe in romance and that the perfect guy does exist. While that may indeed be true, it is good to get this type of romanticism with a side of reality. This type of “life sucks but there are still good people out there/ways to make the best of it” film exists in the works of Judd Apatow. It’s there, y’all!
Going to see a film like this can end in two ways for me: either reflecting on every decision I’ve made in the past regarding my love life OR thinking that the whole thing was a biggest cheesefest and I am feeling pretty lactose intolerant right now. By the tone of this post, it may seem as if I went with the latter; that’s certainly not the case! Watching all of those relationships play out on the big screen really got me thinking about how I handle myself in relationships. Recently, I’ve been widening my dating pool, and each time I’m shocked by the crassness and lack of appeal these suitors have. I mean, they are just not good people. They aren’t the brightest, they aren’t the most attractive, they aren’t that whole package. While I’ve been able to work on my dating conversations and other relationship-related topics, I don’t really feel fulfilled. And then you have Zac Efron, the gorgeous bad-boy-turned-good, meeting the quirky girl who is just the right amount of class and crazy to make the perfect partner in crime. It’s at times like this that I realize that, yes, I, too, can have my Zac and Ellie, as cheesy as it is. That one rocking relationship that really blows the rest out of the water. And it only happens when one doesn’t just settle for something good; it’s only when one takes that leap of faith and goes for the GOLD (Sochi reference – I mean, it IS Olympic season; go TEAM USA! 😉 ). I, along with every one of us, deserves our Zac Efron or Ellie.
Check out the trailer for the film below: