Tuesday, 4 February 2014
FILM REVIEW: ARE WE OFFICIALLY DATING?
In a similar vein to Knocked Up (2007) and (500) Days of Summer (2009) but not even close to being in the same league, Are We Officially Dating? is a rom-com from the male perspective. Actually, writer-director Tom Gormican's feature debut could easily be dubbed a 'bro-mantic comedy' given that most of the love on display in this intermittently amusing pap is circulated between the three male leads.
Chief among them is Jason (Zac Efron), a serial womaniser with a roster of female fuck buddies and a strong aversion to commitment. It's a lifestyle his friend and co-worker Daniel (Miles Teller) emulates with varying degrees of success; the charming if not-so obviously sexy Daniel assisted in his seduction attempts by Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis), who it seems is one of the boys.
Mikey (Michael B. Jordan) is the only member of the trio who has experience with an actual relationship. But given that his wife wants to divorce him for her lawyer who looks an awful lot like Morris Chestnut (a running joke which becomes less funny as the film progresses, and probably the further away from Hollywood the audience is), it's apparent he's no more clued in about what women want than his feckless buddies.
Mikey's also the most resistant when the three make a pact to indulge in their singledom and avoid the dating game. That pact is quietly jeopardized by Mikey's clandestine trysts with his soon-to-be ex-wife, Daniel's similarly on-the-down low hook-ups with Chelsea, and the not-so secretly developing relationship between Jason and Ellie (Imogen Poots).
After a one night stand, the two begin spending a lot of time together -- initially at Jason's insistence; making amends for suspecting Ellie of being a call girl -- but when his buddies begin to call him on it, and Ellie suddenly requires him to step up, he feels compelled to adhere to his personal code rather than his heart.
Whether speaking from experience or exaggerating for laughs, Gormican's screenplay mines the fallibilities of the bro-code, where pleasure should be foremost and love is a dirty word. And there are plenty of dirty words in Are We Officially Dating?; dick jokes abound as do instances of guys just being dicks. The film's characters may be a little (or a lot) sexist but the film isn't.
Unfortunately, it's not consistently funny nor does it examine some of the ideas that it hits upon. What it does have going for it is the easy chemistry between its leads. Efron (also an exec producer here) but particularly Jordan (Fruitvale Station) and Teller (The Spectacular Now) make for enjoyable company. They're very much on the up, and Are We Officially Dating? is merely a not-so memorable date on that upward trajectory.