Date movies are a given every Valentine’s Day. Usually doomed romances or wildly unrealistic melodramas, they serve their purpose for that one day of the year and are more often than not instantly forgotten. Despite what its When Harry Met Sally inspired poster suggests, Are We Officially Dating? (aka. That Awkward Moment) is a welcome alternative to the normal Valentine’s Day formula – a kind of testosterone fuelled Girls by way of Crazy Stupid Love – but while it provides a decent amount of laughs it’s still ultimately a pretty forgettable exercise.
Three best friends (Zac Efron, Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan) are living the dream in NYC – Jason (Efron) and Daniel (Teller) are illustrators for an indie publisher, and Mikey (Jordan) is a (hot) rookie doctor. When Mikey’s wife announces she wants a divorce, the three guys make a pact to wholeheartedly enjoy single life and to absolutely, under no circumstances, enter a relationship. Naturally, this pact is destined to be over as soon as its begun, as Jason meets the girl of his dreams (Imogen Poots), Daniel realises that he likes the token female member of their group (Mackenzie Davis) as more than a friend, and Mikey tries to patch things up with his wife (Jessica Lucas).
First of all, do guys really sit around and make pacts like that? Does commitment of any form really spell certain death? Regardless, you can map out down to the letter how the film will play out as soon as its begun – not necessarily a bad thing, but most great romcoms have something special to be found within, whether it’s a plot twist, a delightful supporting character, or a “you had me at hello!”. Are We Officially Dating? seems content to be funny but not particularly memorable or unique. It provides a nice amount of laughs if your standards aren’t too high – most of them revolve around male genitalia – but the thing that really lets down Are We Officially Dating? is how obscenely sexist it is. The women exist on screen purely as objects to be slept with; every single one is a completely disposable, two-dimensional carbon copy of every guy’s dream girl. Aren’t we past this?
What is decidedly derivative material is saved by the performances from the three leading men. An all-grown-up teen heartthrob and two of the biggest names in independent film right now elevate this boys’ club romcom into something that is frequently entertaining despite its shortcomings. Zac Efron (a long way from his High School Musical days) as the handsome one, Miles Teller as the crass one, and Michael B. Jordan as the nice guy is a winning combination – if only they were servicing better material.
It’s sure to attract an audience as a Valentine’s Day flick, but Are We Officially Dating? seems to be a one night stand kind of movie – great in the moment, but not particularly memorable.
Review Score: TWO AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Are We Officially Dating? is released in Australian cinemas on Thursday, February 13th.