Posts Tagged ‘PARKLAND’

THAT AWKWARD MOMENT: 2 STARS. “cautionary tale for parents of 20 somethings.”

awkward_Moment_Trailer_NewsZac Efron became a teen heartthrob with the success of the “High School Musical” movies and then did everything possible to decimate and alienate the core audience that made him a star.

He rightly realized that the shelf life of a young Disney star was limited and turned his attention to making serious, but little seen films like “Parkland,” “At Any Price” and “The Paperboy,” an art house film better known for a scene utilizing an age old cure for a jellyfish sting you don’t normally see administered by Oscar winners like Nicole Kidman.

His latest film, “That Awkward Moment,” bridges the gap between the commercial fare that typified his early career and the edgier movies. It’s a rom com but it really is about how gross these twenty-something manboys can be.

Efron plays Jason, a New York graphic artist who designs covers for books with titles like “Diary of a Teenage CEO.” He is an avowed hook-up artist, a young guy who would rather hang out with his best friends Daniel (Miles Teller) and Mikey (Michael B. Jordan) than have a meaningful relationship with a girl. That is until he meets Ellie (the excellently named Imogen Poots), a young writer with big eyes and big dreams.

“That Awkward Moment” takes advantage of Efron’s blue eyes and sculpted abs in time honoured rom com fashion. His hair is practically a character in the film. It certainly has more personality than most of the men in the movie.

This is the kind of movie that makes me glad I don’t have daughters in the dating pool. The three main characters—Jason, Miles and Mikey—are frat boys who speak Bro Code, using terms like “Double Gopher” and advising their divorced friend to create a roster of women rather than get tied down to one woman.

And yet before you can cue the Drunk Rom Com Xbox Montage ™, these young idiots have met and canoodled with women who are WAY more interesting than they deserve.

Daniel takes up with Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis), an Upper West Side child of privilege (who also sings the blues in nightclubs) while Jason struggles with his feelings for Elie. Both women hand in charming, funny performances that feel like they’ve been beamed in from another, better movie, and are the reason to see the film.

“That Awkward Moment” works better when it drops the frat boy stuff and embraces its rom com roots. When it focuses on the real relationships between the guys and Ellie and Chelsea it plays like a regular rom com. Beyond that it might mainly be of interest as a cautionary tale for parents of twenty something women.


parklandGravitas literally drips off the screen during “Parkland,” director Peter Landesman’s impressionistic look at the three days surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Somber music spills from the soundtrack, people fret and pray while Walter Cronkite and David Brinkley pontificate on “one of the more horrible days in American history.”

Trouble is, there’s no story.

Instead, it’s a character study of the folks, from the doctors and nurses at Parkland Memorial who tried to save JFK’s life (Zak Efron, Colin Hanks and Marcia Gay Harden) to secret service and law enforcement officers on the scene (Billy Bob Thornton, Ron Livingston) to Lee Harvey Oswald’s family (James Badge Dale, Jacki Weaver) to the reporters who broke the story (Mark Duplass) and the man who took the most famous images of the shooting, Abraham Zapruder (Paul Giamatti).

It’s a sprawling cast who all vie for enough screen time to make an impact in this fast moving but ultimately ineffective study of the time.

The period details are all in place, and Giamatti, Dale and Thornton shine, but former journalist-turned-director Landesman’s lack of a point of view adds nothing to this often told tale.