ON SECOND THOUGHT, I’LL JUST CALL A CAB
Take Me Home Tonight
Review by Patrick Garland
The premise of the film “Take Me Home Tonight” goes something like this. The year is 1988. Recent college grad Matt Franklin, played by Topher Grace, doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life, besides getting a second chance of making a move on his secret high school crush. So even though he just graduated from MIT, his indecision leads him to working at Suncoast Video. His twin sister Wendy, played by Anna Faris, also doesn’t know what to do with her life. Maybe she’ll get married, maybe she’ll move to England. There friend Barry, played by Dan Fogler, just got fired from his job. Guess what? He doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life. See a trend here? These three crazy young people don’t know where they’re going. They only know that life is tough at 22. Just like in “St. Elmo’s Fire”. So, our three heroes decide the best place to sort out the confusion is at a crazy Labor Day party hosted by Wendy’s boyfriend.
Just for fun, let’s use ’80’s valley girl talk to clear up a few questions you may have about what will happen next.
Question: Will a big night of partying help Matt finally get the guts to talk to his dream girl?
Answer: Like, totally, to the max!
Question: Will an abundant amount of alcohol help Wendy see that her boyfriend is actually a big time jerk and no good for her?
Answer: Fer sure!
Question: Will that bag of cocaine Barry finds in the glove compartment of the car he has stolen help him gain confidence and not be a nerd?
Answer: Totally dude!
Question: Will the extremely weird subplot involving a giant metal ball that party goers are dared to climb inside and then ride down a hill in to prove their manhood roll this film into a side splitting comedic climax?
Answer: As if!
“Take Me Home Tonight”, attempts to make you believe it is the 80’s. But before I go on, I need to get something of my chest. Here it goes.
I knew the 80’s. The 80’s were a friend of mine. “Take Me Home Tonight”, you’re not the 80’s. Wait. Was that uncalled for? Maybe, but it made me feel better.
It doesn’t make any sense that this film is set in the 80’s. It doesn’t make it a better movie. It’s just a lame way to stuff lots of songs from that decade into the background. And by the way, if you’re going to all the trouble of setting it in 1988, then how come most of the songs used in the film are from around 1982? One answer would be that music was better in the early part of the decade. But if you know this, why not set the movie four or five years earlier? It’s because the filmmakers are lazy and have very poor attention to detail. I really hate when movies set in the 80’s slam the whole decade into whatever year the story is taking place. It just isn’t realistic. If you were at a house party in 1988 you wouldn’t hear “Come on Eileen” or “The Safety Dance” playing. Those songs weren’t retro yet, therefore they weren’t relevant at that time. 80’s music didn’t become one huge grab bag ‘o’ fun until the 90’s when radio stations started playing big 80’s weekends. It has become a cliché for a movie to use a song like “Video Killed the Radio Star” and expect that that is going to be enough to make us believe we are back in time.
Another thing troublesome to me about “Take Me Home Tonight” is the way the cocaine angle is handled. There are no real consequences seen. In fact, by the end of the night Barry is rewarded for his behavior by getting with a girl who was impressed with his bravado while he was coked up. Way to go Hollywood. In a day and age when we are bombarded with one celebrity train wreck after another, you guys treat us to a wonderful little comedy about how casual drug use is an important and useful tool to a successful night on the town.
The only positive thing I can say about “Take Me Home Tonight” is the performance by Topher Grace. He rises above a film filled with stale acting and is a very likeable leading man. All in all, I would have to strongly warn you against letting this stinker of a comedy take you home tonight. At least that’s the way I see it.
Directed by: Michael Dowse
Release Date: March 4, 2011
Run Time: 97 minutes
Distributor: Imagine Entertainment