Even a strongly likeable cast can't breathe life into this ill-conceived film, which poses as a sex comedy but is ultimately timid and sappy. The premise is intriguing enough to catch our interest, but it ends up being three badly written romantic-comedies woven together in a way that makes them neither romantic nor comedic.
The story strands centre on three best buddies enjoying their late-20s in New York. Jason (Efron) is the womaniser, breaking up the moment any girl begins to get serious. Daniel (Teller) is the clown, using humour to find women, usually with the help of his friend Chelsea (Davis). And Mikey (Jordan) is the responsible one, a medical doctor happily married to Vera (Lucas). Except that she leaves him, prompting Jason and Daniel to promise to stay single with him in solidarity. Then instantly, each of them finds himself in a relationship: Jason falls for wild-girl Ellie (Poots), Daniel realises that he's in love with Chelsea, and Mikey secretly tries to get Vera back.
The problem is that there's very little chemistry between any of the characters. Not only are the love stories strained and implausible, but the bromance never even gets off the ground because filmmaker Gormican is clearly terrified of any kind of male affection. He's also not very good at depicting sexuality, with only a couple of scenes played for comedy value. In fact, all of the film's sharp edges have been surgically removed, leaving only the illusion of gross-out humour.
This is a real shame because there are moments when the actors reveal what this might have been. Efron, Teller and Jordan are all likeable, charismatic actors who spark nicely off each other even if we never remotely believe they are anything like their characters. And the women fare even worse, with undefined roles that are never allowed to come to life. So when things turn sentimental and preachy in the end, we roll our eyes in exasperation. Sure, there's some mindless fun to be had here, but the flimsy script leaves it ultimately meaningless and forgettable.
Run time: 94 mins
In Theaters: Friday 31st January 2014
Box Office USA: $26.0M
Distributed by: Focus Features
Production compaines: Treehouse Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 23%
Fresh: 30 Rotten: 98
IMDB: 6.1 / 10
Director: Tom Gormican
Producer: Scott Aversano, Justin Nappi, Andrew O'Connor, Kevin Turen
Screenwriter: Tom Gormican
Starring: Zac Efron as Jason, Miles Teller as Daniel, Michael B. Jordan as Mikey, Imogen Poots as Ellie, Mackenzie Davis as Chelsea, Jessica Lucas as Vera, Addison Timlin as Alana, Josh Pais as Fred, Evelina Turen as Sophie, Tina Benko as Ellie's Mom, Joseph Adams as Ellie's Dad, Eugenia Kuzmina as Girl at the Bar (uncredited), Emily Meade as Christy, Alysia Reiner as Amanda