March 5, 2011
Review - " Take Me Home Tonight " - (in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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Take Me Home Tonight
Directed by Michael Dowse
Starring: Topher Grace, Teresa Palmer, Anna Faris, Dan Fogler,
A nostalgic homage to the romantic-comedy romps of the 1980s,
"Take Me Home Tonight" cycles through all the conventions of
the genre without breathing any new life into them, or offering
characters who are developed well enough to make us care
There's the wild, all-night party that brings together people from
varying social strata, the nerdy guy who finally gets the girl of his
dreams, the pretty, popular girl who's tired of being pretty and
popular. And like the similarly big-haired, acid-washed "Hot Tub
Time Machine," it wallows in the period kitsch, complete with
one-hit wonders like "Safety Dance" and "Come On Eileen"
(although the Eddie Money song of the same name as the film's
title is nowhere to be found). But once you get past giggling at
how ridiculous we all looked back then, you realize there isn't
much story there to keep you hooked.
Topher Grace, the film's star, actually helped come up with that
story, and the movie itself exists in a bit of a time warp; "Take Me
Home Tonight" was shot back in 2007, and is just now seeing the
light of day. So just to make the whole exercise feel even more
weirdly dated, Grace in real life is now 32.
In the movie, though, the year is 1988, and Grace's character,
Matt Franklin, has just graduated from MIT. But instead of
landing some prestigious engineering job, he's working at a video store at the mall and living at home with his parents in Los
Angeles' San Fernando Valley. (For all you true fans out there, Matt and his friends went to Shermer High School - the
fictional high school where John Hughes set his tales.) But as is so often the case in these movies, this reserved guy goes a
little crazy over one long night.
Along for the ride are his twin sister, Wendy (Anna Faris), and his obligatory, wacky best friend, Barry (Dan Fogler,
essentially doing a Booger from Revenge of the Nerds impression). They all go to an end-of-summer bash because they
know that Tori (Teresa Palmer), the beautiful, blonde prom queen Matt's secretly loved from afar, will be there. Back in high
school, Tori wouldn't give Matt the time of day on her Swatch watch. But now that she thinks he's a big-time banker with
Goldman Sachs, she's suddenly interested.
Naturally, all his lies will catch up with him, and his moment of truth will come before a massive group of people. But first,
Barry does insane amounts of cocaine and winds up in a creepy threesome (the only scene that's truly funny or unexpected)
and Wendy must decide whether to marry her longtime boyfriend, a jerk named Kyle (Chris Pratt). Since he's so clearly
wrong for her, there's never any tension in
Grace ordinarily has a ton of natural likability -
he's got that boy-next-door thing going,
combined with a confident, deadpan sense of
humor. Here, it's such a foregone conclusion
that Matt and Tori will end up together despite
the brief contrivances in their way, there's no
point in wasting the energy to root for them.
You may as well busy yourself with your
With the standard 'nerd gets the gorgeous girl
who never noticed him through one manic
wild crazy night', Take Me Home is really just a
so-so movie in the vain of "Can't Hardly Wait"
and "I Love You Beth Cooper". It isn't a terrible
movie just a waste of your time.