Lina Lamont

"What do you think I am, dumb or something?"

Are We Officially Dating?

This review first appeared in the Sunday Star-Times, 9th February 2014

This is a disheartening lads’ tale about contemporary dating but actually, why call it “dating” if you just want to get laid?

Hollywood heartthrob Zac Efron (High School Musical, The Lucky One – c’mon, you know who I mean) is a bit of a player who rakes in the ladies but not for longer than 24 hours if he can help it. He pals about with the usually charming Miles Teller (lately in The Spectacular Now), two best mates who vow to stay single in support of a newly separated friend.

Of course, the moment that die is cast, Efron’s Jason meets a lovely girl with whom he should really be forging a mature relationship – but the tropes of the rom-com (and in this case I use the term loosely) necessitate much fooling of yourself and others before that’s going to happen. And so we wait.

It’s all the go to make dating movies from the guy’s point of view, and this would be refreshing and enlightening if only it wasn’t so darn depressing. The three mates talk rubbish to each other (can we blame the turgid script or its devastating grasp on reality?) and behave like cads, constantly on the pull but failing to engage the merest whiff of personal insight or reflection. They’re not even teenagers, but book cover artists in their 20s who live in pretty flash (considering their realistically low salaries) New York apartments. But hey – they’re all the “hero” we’ve got.

When British actress Imogen Poots comes on the scene, it’s natural that she plays X-Box, drinks Scotch and finds the boys’ juvenile antics hilarious. The question is: how many indignities and let-downs must she suffer before she and Jason get it together?

A first-time writer/director project from Tom Gormican (whose previous and dubious claim to fame is as a producer of the inexorable montage Movie 43), this film’s American title is That Awkward Moment, that is, the moment when (usually) the girl wants clarification on the status of the relationship. Burdened by pedestrian dialogue, unimaginative direction and an overreliance on erection jokes and bathroom fisticuffs, the film’s success in being light-hearted is offset by its complete lack of cleverness or warmth.

Apart from an apposite observation about online stalking, this is an hour-and-a-half of awkward moments.

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