The Pitch: “What if we did a romantic comedy from, say, the man’s perspective?” “Genius, take the rest of the day off.”
Review Awkward Moments List:
That awkward moment…
… when you’re a married man two weeks shy of forty going to a Zac Efron movie. On your own.
… when you hear the voiceover at the beginning, and find yourself wondering when Zac Efron’s voice broke.
… when you hear the main conceit of the film (guys trying to stay single to protect their friend whose marriage is on the rocks) and think it’s worryingly thin.
… when there’s a joke about a guy who looks like Morris Chestnut and you think he is Morris Chestnut but you can only remember him from Under Siege 2 and that was a long time ago.
… when you come home and Google Morris Chestnut and realise he was in Kick-Ass 2, which you saw not six months ago.
… when they roll out the Morris Chestnut joke again and no-one laughed the first time.
… when the film resorts to “I thought it was a mint, oh it’s really a Viagra” routines after less than ten minutes.
… when the payoff to the Viagra gag is Zac Efron prostrate and naked on a toilet and you realise you’re really not in the target demographic for this one.
… when the film introduces a comedy background character (played by Josh Pais) who’s one of the most excruciatingly unfunny comedy background characters ever.
… when Zac Efron thinks a woman he’s met in a bar is a prostitute after seeing two books, some money and her boots, despite the fact that a prostitute will generally ask from the money up front.
… when there’s a tiny part of you wondering if I’m speaking from personal experience. (I’m not – it’s just common sense. But thanks anyway.)
… when Zac Efron attempts to explain to the woman (Imogen Poots) that he thought she was a prostitute and she actually talks to him again, ever.
… when the film you’re watching is based on a conceit so thin that the film itself forgets about it for a good half hour and then forces it ever more painfully through in an attempt to justify itself.
… when the film manages to conjure up another background supporting character as bad as the first one.
… when you realise the plot is doing its best to see just how much of an asshole it can turn Zac Efron into and still get the girl at the end of it.
… when you laugh, despite yourself, and so does most everyone else in the cinema, and then you all feel embarrassed because it’s over an hour in and so far nobody laughed much at all and actually it was such a throwaway gag maybe everyone just needed some catharsis.
… when you realise that the black guy’s romance plot (Michael B. Jordan) has been sidelined for a long stretch, and he might just be there to cover as many demographics as possible.
… when a major plot twist relies on three people independently walking into a public toilet with a lock on the door and not one of them using it, and you’re expected to just laugh it off.
… when you realise that Imogen Poots and Mackenzie Davis, and probably Miles Teller, deserve better than this, but hey, at least they got paid.
… when you realise it’s not over and the credits have a succession of outtakes.
… when you realise the rest of the audience aren’t hanging around for the outtakes and probably have more self respect for themselves than you do.
… when you realise that this was a script on the 2010 Black List of the best unproduced Hollywood scripts, getting more votes than The Hunger Games, The Butler, Looper, Oz: The Great And Powerful and Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Why see it at the cinema: … when you realise that you’ve only gone to see it because Imogen Poots is great and pretty and you’re old enough to be her dad and now you feel just a bit dirty. See also Zac Efron if that’s your bag.
What about the rating? … when you realise that this is rated 15 because it contains over fifty uses of the f-word, a scene in a sex shop and a man having a wank with some tanning lotion, and this is supposed to be a romantic comedy.
My cinema experience: … when you realise that you’ve fallen back into old habits and are just seeing a film because you’ve got four hours until the film you’re actually paying to see starts, and that going for a walk would’ve been more productive, and that the only real bonus is that this kept the rowdy teenagers in the audience at Cineworld Cambridge so bored they kept generally quiet.
The Score: 3/10