1. That Awkward Moment (Focus Features, 2,809 Theaters, 94 Minutes, Rated R): So begins phase two of Zac Efron’s transition (he hopes) to more mature films. Phase one involved PG-13 fare such as The Lucky One and supporting roles in marquee dramas such as Parkland and The Paperboy. He’s coming out with both R-Rated barrels blazing, with this first and Neighbors coming second in May.
That’s always a tricky prospect. Sure, his High School Musical audiences are all mostly old enough to follow him to R-Rated films, but will they want to? Teen idols are something their fans grow out of instead of growing up with.
This film features three buddies whose find their pact to all stay single together in danger when they accidentally fall into real relationships.
2. Labor Day (Paramount, 2,584 Theaters,111 Minutes, Rated PG-13): You get the impression that this film was meant to be Oscar Bait. It has actors with Oscar credentials (Josh Brolin, Kate Winslet), has an Oscar nominated writer-director (Jason Reitman) and made a tour of the festival circuit and had a brief open in Los Angeles before opening wide here.
However, its complete and utter lack of nominations is telling, as is its release at the tale end of the period when Oscar favorites are typically released. You don’t have to look at Rotten Tomatoes and the 36% percent fresh it has at this writing to see that we might have a stinker on our hands.
The film, which is based on a novel, tells a coming of age story of a young boy who has to deal with changes brought when an escaped convict enters his and his mothers life. If that seems implausible, ask me about the romance that develops between the convict and his mom. I won’t bother with the drowned baby coincidence.