Shakespeare once poised the question, "What's in a name?" And while it's been more than 420 years since Shakespeare's wise words were first published, we continue to ponder the question. And with 2014's comedy That Awkward Moment , the query adapts a modern spin: "What's in a label?"
For Jason and Daniel (Zac Efron and Miles Teller), labels in the world of dating are fatal, and should be avoided at all costs. And when their friend Mikey (Michael B. Jordan) finds out his wife is cheating on him, the trio decide that to help Mikey through his separation, they will all remain single. No girlfriends. No exceptions.
This, of course, is the dramatic conflict of That Awkward Moment that propels our leading men into the uncomfortable and yes, awkward, world of not dating. Bustle spoke with Mackenzie Davis, who plays Chelsea, one of the film's leading ladies, about working with three of Hollywood's hottest young stars.
"Chelsea is very straight forward but there's a lot of joking that goes on to hide her emotional investment. I play opposite Miles Teller as a wingman for this group of guys," Davis said. "We all go out together and I manage to set them up with girls."
How this work is practically a perfect science in the film: "the girl comes up, I compliment their shoes, and then the guys jump in and close the deal," Davis explained. "I'm friends with Miles Teller's character and then we start sleeping together and... fall in love. And that's our story line."
But because Teller's character is banned from having any real emotional connection, he doesn't tell the boys that he and Chelsea are dating. Similarly, Zac Efron falls for Ellie, an über hipster with a book deal whom Efron's Jason initially thinks is a prostitute. (Granted, she did have a stack of hundreds by her bed, "hooker boots", and an infinite supply of condoms in her bedroom.) While these guys are trying not to the fall for the girls they are casually courting, Mikey is secretly sleeping with his ex-wife, hoping they'll get back together.
But all of the sneaking around eventually catches up to these characters, in one hilarious and tension-filled Thanksgiving party. "The bathroom scene that happens at the big Thanksgiving dinner was really, really funny to film," said Davis. "It was one of the only things we filmed on a set instead of on location. So it was a set that was built in this very cold warehouse. That scene was fun because first Miles and I have all this stuff together and then Zac comes in, and then Mike comes in... we all had to keep a straight face." The difficulty to stay in character likely came from the fact that one of the characters (Teller) shot the entire scene without pants... or underwear.
And If you've seen the trailer, you're already looking forward to a scene where Efron lies naked on a toilet because he can't pee standing up due to taking too much viagra. From this description alone, it may sound like a male buddy comedy, and to a certain extent it is, but it evolves to a point where other films in the genre feel stunted.
"It's just really funny and sweet, and I think there's another iteration of this movie that would be more of a Hangover type movie, but this movie ends up being so much sweeter. I love the way my character's storyline. It jumped off the page at me," said Davis.
She continued to say that she is not like her character in real life, nor is she like any of the characters portrayed. "I don't date the way the characters in this movie date. I don't go on lots of dates, I've really only gone on like two dates in my life. I tend to date my friends or meet someone and fall into a relationship. I don't have this tiered dating plan where you have to play the game just right."
For Jason and Daniel, their love lives are defined by rules. For example, as soon as someone they're sleeping with says, "So..." they're out. They immediately cut that girl out of their lives for fear of her bringing up questions like, "Where is this going?" or "What are we?" Another rule these twenty-somethings live by is to never see any given girl from their "roster" (..gag..) twice in one week.
"It sounds pretty stupid to me to be honest," Davis confessed. "I feel like if you like someone then you should start dating them. Trying to convince someone that you're not into them while being into them, there's a whole art to it to be sure, but I don't get it. I'd much rather just be like, 'I like you, let's date.'"
But while the characters might have hard and fast rules about dating in the film, the actors on-set behavior was a lot looser. "Professional? maybe not. It was relentless teasing and laughter and joking around. There was a lot of shooting the shit. It was just a riot," she said. And when it came to working closely with Teller, Davis had only good things to say: "He's extraordinarily charismatic and just makes you laugh all day long. Obviously the days are very long on set Miles is great at being annoying energetic."
That Awkward Moment is in theatres now. You can catch Chelsea in her on screen debut in Breathe In, which debuted at Sundance Film Festival and comes out March 28.
Images: Treehouse pictures; rebloggy