By Jess Lomas
February 11, 2014
A great romantic comedy lets us escape reality into a world where the men are attentive and charming or at the very least redeem themselves by the time the credits roll. Tom Gormican’s directorial debut, Are We Officially Dating? (titled That Awkward Moment in the States) aims to turn the traditional rom-com structure on its head, presenting the male perspective on dating, sex and love. Whether you think the guys here compensate for their behaviour by film’s end depends on how much you fall for the charms of the three leads.
Best friends Jason (Zac Efron) and Daniel (Miles Teller) work together as book jacket designers and drink together as they add candidates to their evolving “roster” of women to sleep with. When their college friend Mikey (Michael B. Jordan), a doctor, finds himself newly single after his wife asks for a separation, the boys take it upon themselves to save him by proposing a pact: they will all stay single together.
Of course, trouble arises when Jason meets Ellie (Imogen Poots), a girl so perfect for him she has to be ‘The One.’ Similarly, Daniel soon sees his friend Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis) with new eyes, and Mikey attempts to win his wife Vera (Jessica Lucas) back through spontaneity. Just how far will the friends take the pact, and will they own up to each other about their relationships and be honest with themselves before it’s too late?
The picture’s strength lies in the chemistry between Efron, Teller and Jordan, who make the overly stylised dialogue work without feeling forced. Teller, in particular, is proving more and more that he is a talent to watch, making anything he’s in a delight. His Daniel is full of one-liners that no individual could impulsively whip out, but his delivery makes you believe in this goofy larrikin. It’s his relationship with Chelsea that is also the flick’s most believable and realistic, as two friends slowly coming to the realisation that their feelings are stronger anchors the film from its sillier moments.
Naturally, a movie such as this in the Apatow-era contains some “gross out” scenes, although nothing that will have people talking too much. A sight gag involving Jason and Daniel trying to urinate after taking Viagra is an amusing surprise if you don’t see it coming. While Are We Officially Dating? doesn’t revolutionise the genre, there are some redeeming moments and performances that make it enjoyable.
Are We Officially Dating? arrives in Australian cinemas February 14, 2014.