“That Awkward Moment,” which opens in theaters Friday, is a guy-centric romcom, in which a trio of dudes (Zac Efron, Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan) promise to go girl-free after one of them goes through a bad breakup. But none of them can keep their promise. Dude betrayal ensues.
The guy-centric romantic comedy is a new-ish and relatively successful subgenre mashup of the traditional romcom and arrested development male genre. Sometimes with a dollop of penis humor thrown in. This is not to be confused with the bromance.
In the guy-centric romcom, the romance takes a male perspective and usually involves all sorts of guy talk about the vagaries of dating.
Here are some of the genre's highlights.
I'm guiltily fond of this 2005 Will Smith vehicle, in which he plays a professional “date doctor” trying to help Kevin James find love while also settling down with the lovely Eva Mendes.
9. “Crazy, Stupid, Love.”
The highlight of this uneven romcom is Emma Stone. The second best thing is watching Lothario Ryan Gosling teach Steve Carell how to succeed with women. That part of it's actually a lot like “Hitch.”
8. “The Wedding Singer”
Before his movies became completely insufferable, Adam Sandler was in this charmer about a crooner who falls for Drew Barrymore. They're both betrothed to other people and blah blah hijinks, '80s kitsch.
7. “She's Out of My League”
This underseen 2010 gem stars Jay Baruchel as a dork who's dating a girl (Alice Eve) far out of his league. The gross-out gags are strained, but the guy talk about relationships is fun and surprisingly insightful.
6. "Forgetting Sarah Marshall"
This is sort of on the brink of just being a regular romantic comedy, as Kristen Bell (as leading man Jason Segel's ex) and Mila Kunis (as Segel's love interest) get a good chunk of the movie. But Segel's growth from sad-sack loser to a guy someone would actually want to date is very much of the subgenre in discussion.
5. “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”
Judd Apatow's feature directorial debut is still his best.
4. “About a Boy”
The 2002 adaptation of Nick Hornby's novel is primarily about a cynical, selfish Hugh Grant learning to be a grown up. But it also works as a romcom, as Grant finds the Rachel Weisz who makes him want to be a better man.
3. “Bull Durham”
Still the best baseball movie. Prime Costner, sharp writing, observations about how sex affects baseball (and baseball affects sex).
2. “High Fidelity”
Another Nick Hornby adaptation, this one about John Cusack learning to have a grown-up relationship by going back through his history of failed romances.
1. “There's Something About Mary”
“Something about Mary” is so many things (groundbreaking scatological comedy, occasional musical, cautionary stalker tale) that it's easy to forget the sweet romance at its core. When the movie sweeps aside its dog and phallus abuse, you've got a sweet love story in Ben Stiller and Cameron Diaz.