Summary: Three best friends find themselves where we’ve all been – at that confusing moment in every dating relationship when you have to decide “So…where is this going?
Australian Cinema Release Date: 13th February, 2014
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: Tom Gormican
Screenwriter: Tom Gormican
Cast: Mackenzie Davis (Chelsea), Zac Efron (Jason), Lola Glaudini (Sharon), Rachel Heller (Rachel), Michael B. Jordan (Mikey), Jessica Lucas (Vera), Karen Ludwig (Mrs. Rose), Emily Meade (Christy), Demetrice Nguyen (Michael), Josh Pais (Fred), Imogen Poots (Ellie), Alysia Reiner (Amanda Silverman), Miles Teller (Jason), Addison Timlin (Alana), Evelina Turen (Sophie)
Runtime: 95 mins
It seems like Hollywood is hellbent on creating an alternative style romantic comedy at the moment. Right on the heels of Drinking Buddies comes Are We Officially Dating which we for our U.S. audience is in fact That Awkward Moment which has been repackaged for the Australian market. So why the name change? It does seem unnecessary but perhaps it was done to avoid reviewers using lines such as ‘that awkward moment when you realise that despite its cast this film isn’t very good’ or ‘that awkward moment when you realise the film’s screenwriter needs to go back to film school.’
Are We Officially Dating follows three best friends who are now out of college and trying to make their way in the big wide world. First off there is attractive artist Jason (Zac Efron) who can have any woman he wants… as long as he doesn’t have to date them or they begin a sentence with the word ‘so…’
Then there is the more reserved doctor Mikey (Michael B. Jordan) who thinks he has the perfect life until his wife surprises him with the news that she wants a divorce and that she has been sleeping with her lawyer. Last but not least there is Daniel (Miles Teller) who is really a lovable loser but thinks he is God’s gift to women.
The film sees Mikey try recover gracefully from his divorce and try to win his wife back while Daniel and Jason try to recruit him into their lifestyle choice of just seeing various women whenever they want and ditching them when they get tired of them.
I’m sure in the mind of screenwriter/director Tom Gormican he was developing an alternative romantic comedy that would be to men what Sex And The City is to women. However, what he has ended up doing is created a clichéd signposted movie that pretty much offers no surprises to its audience at all because he follows the formula to a tee. From the instant these three sprout the lines “let’s stay single” you just know this is going to be one of those romantic comedies where the exact opposite happens. Although I’ve never really seen it happen literally five minutes later in a film like is the case here.
Gormican tries to do what he can to make this film ‘alternative.’ Firstly there is the hipster world of novel front-cover art, there is the fact that he allows his cast to ad-lib most of their scenes (which hits the spot on occasions, but also fails from time-to-time as well) and then there is his failed attempt at trying to make these men seem real by giving them unusual quirks such as the fact that whenever Daniel goes to Jason’s house he has to do a number two in the toilet. Yes Gormican seems to think toilet humor will make up for the weak script, but then what do you expect from a filmmaker whose only previous film experience was that of a producer on Movie 43.
It is hard to work out exactly what audience Gormican would think would fall in love with this film. It’s potentially too lovey dovey for most male audience members while the behaviour and bodily functions of the three leading men would have most women also screwing up their nose. Even the central female characters, Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis) and Ellie (Imogen Poots), seem to not work because on one hand they seem to be screaming “we are strong independent women we can do anything” while on the other hand also adding “but we really need a man by our side no matter how they treat us.”
It is hard to work out why most of the actors featured in the cast aligned themselves to this film. Zac Efron has recently shown that he is above cheesy films with his role in The Paperboy while even Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller come off good performances of their own in films such as Fruitvale Station and The Spectacular Now. All three are way above this kind of film, as is Imogen Poots who is left in a role that just simply flounders along.
Are We Officially Dating? is the kind of film that you watch once, laugh at a couple of the jokes that do work, such as Jason thinking Ellie is a prostitute, and then spend the rest of time dissecting everything that was wrong with the film. Yes, Hollywood still hasn’t managed to create a good alternative love film.
Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Are We Officially Dating′: Nil