An EXCLUSIVE First Review (Ever) of "Take Me Home Tonight"

Posted 1/19/2011 by Brandon Wainerdi in Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

            In this modern world of quick downloads and Netflix Instant Streaming, it’s becoming less and less frequent that I’ll go out and see a movie in the theaters. I have found my attention span growing noticeably shorter and shorter over the past year, requiring now that I have my trusty cell phone in one hand and my well-used laptop in the other as I sit down in front of my television to watch something, whether it be a rerun of Friends (guilty) or Pulp Fiction (as was the most recent case.)

            So that’s why it was so surprising that, two nights ago, I was able to sit through two hours of the yet-to-be-released comedy film Take Me Home Tonight, complete with an in-person introduction from the film’s star Topher Grace, of That 70’s Show fame, and actually enjoy it (albeit the much-touted intro was only two minutes long and ended with a now very-grown-up Eric Forman screaming to the audience, “NOW MAKE SOME NOISE IF YOU JUST LIKE TO PARTY YOUR F***ING FACE OFF!”)

            In any case, Take Me Home Tonight takes place, for the most part, during a crazy Labor Day party in 1988, and follows the story of recent MIT grad Matt Franklin (played by Mr. Grace) and his best friend Barry (played by Fanboys star and personal favorite Dan Fogler) as they deal with life decisions, love, high school relationships, and gratuitous amounts of hard drugs. Yeah.

            Along the way, and as blatantly set up in the film’s trailer above, Matt lies to Tori, his high school crush, about where he is in life (hint: not working at Suncoast Video), which leads him to a Beverly Hills stock broker’s house party and on “the adventure of a lifetime” yada yada yada. Matt’s sister and her boyfriend have a sort of separate subplot running through the film, acting as a kind of foil to the burgeoning relationship of Matt and Tori.

            Despite it’s predictability, Take Me Home Tonight is a surprisingly very entertaining movie. The jokes and physical comedy actually work well, for the most part, and the supporting cast is very strong, headed by Anna Faris, who is Matt’s twin sister, and a wheelchair-bound Demetri Martin, who steals all three of the scenes he is in. Plus, it has a soundtrack filled to the brim of legendary 80’s songs (except, inexplicably, the title Eddie Money track), which bring an automatic smile to my face and making me want to sing along in the seat (as the grizzled lady sitting next to me was gracious enough to do throughout the screening.)

Grace and Fogler as they appear in Take Me Home Tonight, after stealing a car. Of course.

And amid its raunchiness and f-bombs, Take Me Home Tonight has a heart…somewhere. In his brief intro, Topher Grace compared the flick to a John Hughes fare (director of classics such as The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles.) And, while it is impossible to put it on that high of a pedestal, it easily runs in the well-defined footsteps of Ferris Bueller, detailing the underdog story that we are all so familiar with through modern cinema.

            If I have any complaints about the movie, it is just two, very minor flaws.

1.)  SPOILER ALERT: it is set in the 1980’s. And, again, another SPOILER ALERT: I was not alive during the 1980’s. It seems to me, though, that this movie could have been set in 2011 or 1977 without any major disturbance to the plot. The only things in this movie that define it as  “an eighties film” are skinny ties and Guns ‘N Roses albums in the background. Costumes and soundtracks do not an eighties movie make. I guess you could argue that it was supposed to be as if the film was actually produced during that time period. But I’m not buying it.

2.)  And the other, as I’ve mentioned previously, is the absence of the sweet strains of “Take Me Home Tonight” by Eddie Money blasting over the credits or a well-cut montage. I was ready to bust out the trusty old air guitar at a moment’s notice throughout the film, to no avail.

So do I recommend this movie? Yes I really do. When it comes out in two months (ah, the wonders of an advanced screening) definitely go see it to have a very good time at the movie theater. Prepare to laugh and watch some of Hollywood’s “Next Big Things” (specifically Fogler and Martin) work their magic on the screen, all set to the sweet melodies of some eighties power ballads. You can’t really ask for anything more.

          -Brandon Wainerdi, don't stop me now

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