Review – Are we Officially Dating?
Can the most female dominated genre in film be adapted for men? That is the question posed by writer-director Tom Gormican in his debut feature Are We Officially Dating? The film attempts to appeal to a male audience by inverting the traditional plot line; instead of young women searching for love, three young men (played by Milles Teller, Michael Jordan and male pinup Zac Efron) gallivant around New York tying to avoid it. In theory this sounds as if it might work, however, the very nature of the rom-com, the quintessential ‘happily ever after’ moment, ends up undermining the bro-focused theme of the film. In the end you are left wondering “is this what men really want?” – in a movie, anyway.
The film captures certain unpleasant truths about modern dating and the disrepute the ‘relationship status’ has fallen into. Gormican’s script displays the usual variety of witty dialogue and the customary assortment of humour expected, but delivered at high speed and with excellent timing. The crass and completely frank tone of the dialogue at times gives a credible feel to the conversation between the male protagonists and the natural chemistry between the actors lends a certain naturalness to the film. However, it fails to live up to its original title That Awkward Moment (used for the US release). Beyond a few scenes involving ice-cream, masturbation, and walking in on others having sex in various places, there is very little that is awkward enough to entice and hold the male audience through the film as it become increasingly warm, charming and focused on grand romantic gestures. That said, the appealing cast and almost constant stream of jokes is quite engaging, but if you expect anything more than light entertainment you may find your attention wandering.
Are we Officially Dating? does make a few deeper contributions. It encourages you to consider what really constitutes a “relationship”, how powerless women are in the current dating ritual, as well as making an interesting comment on Facebook stalking – albeit in an ad hoc way. Unfortunately changing the gender does not change the basic formula of the rom-com, a tale of romantic wish-fulfilment for women, which may leave many male audience members cold – especially if they profess the currently trending bachelor attitudes.