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Take Me Home Tonight [DVD]
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As the summer of 1988 winds down, three friends on the verge of adulthood attend an out-of-control party in celebration of their last night of unbridled youth. Starring Topher Grace, Anna Faris, Dan Fogler and Teresa Palmer, Take Me Home Tonight is a raunchy, romantic and ultimately touching blast from the past set to an awesome soundtrack of timeless rock and hip-hop hits. Recent MIT grad Matt Franklin (Topher Grace) should be working for a Fortune 500 company and starting his upward climb to full-fledged yuppie-hood. Instead, the directionless 23-year-old confounds family and friends by taking a part-time job behind the counter of a video store at the Sherman Oaks Galleria. But Matt's silent protest against maturity comes to a screeching halt once his unrequited high school crush, Tori Frederking (Teresa Palmer), walks into the store. When she invites him to an epic, end-of-summer party, Matt thinks he finally might have a chance with the girl of his dreams. With his cynical twin sister Wendy (Anna Faris) and best friend Barry (Dan Fogler), Matt embarks on a once-in-a-lifetime evening. From stealing a car to a marriage proposal to an indescribable, no-holds-barred dance-off, these friends share experiences that will change the course of their lives on one unforgettable night in the Go-Go '80s.
One last blowout before reality sets in: it's Labour Day 1988, and although they graduated from high school four years earlier, the kids from the class of '84 get together for a party that will surely (because we're watching a movie about it) settle old scores and kindle new romance. But a little creative improvisation will be necessary for Matt Franklin (Topher Grace, who also co-produced and co-wrote the story), who is wasting his degree from MIT on a summer job at Suncoast Video; he's just told his secret high-school crush (Teresa Palmer) that he works for Goldman Sachs--and she's going to be at the party. Throw in Matt's loud and newly unemployed buddy (Dan Fogler), who has just found a baggie of cocaine in the glove compartment of the car he "borrowed" from his former job, as well as Matt's ambivalent sister (Anna Faris, not quite unleashed enough), and the ingredients are there for an epic night. That's clearly the intention for this movie, and while the ideas are all in place, its grasp of comedy and drama feels generally forced. Forced in its song list, too: all the lumbering behemoths of '80s rock are rolled out, from "Der Kommissar" to Dexy's Midnight Runners. For anybody with a nostalgia jones for the 1980s, there are enough funny bits along the way to justify a look, and the supporting cast has its share of craziness: Chris Pratt as the clueless host of the party, Demetri Martin as a disgruntled classmate, Michael Ian Black as the dream girl's douche-bag boss. And any movie that sets Balls of Fury cutup Fogler on a toot will not lack in energy. But nope, Take Me Home Tonight falls short of the realm of American Graffiti and Dazed and Confused, to which it obviously aspires, and no amount of Wang Chung on the soundtrack is going to hide that. --Robert Horton
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The levels of unease for the viewer are not helped by the age of the cast. They are playing recent graduates, but many of them were probably shaving in the 80s. Twins Topher Grace and Anna Faris are easily in their 30s. You could get away with this, if the love interest was not a decade younger - creepy. Miscasting could be forgiven if the script was strong; it is not. The film does have a lazy 80s feel to it, that could be considered homage to the era, or lazy script writing. Things happen to people in one night; no one really cares.
For a comedy, there a precious few laughs in `Home'. Where they are found is in Dan Fogler's role as the best friend. He is allowed to play the fool and hams it up to a level that hides the weak script. Fogler is an actor bubbling around the outskirts of Hollywood, roles like this and in `Hannibal' suggests that there is a good actor here. Fogler aside, the cast is a little unsympathetic and they are not helped by a poor script. This is one film that should have been left in a drawer for another 25 years.
DVD is perfectly acceptable as there is not a huge amount to be gained from High Definition.
The cars, yes, especially the red Merc convertible and the fashion (yes, even I used to roll up my jacket sleeves, like Matt (Topher Grace)) but even more so, the music that it is played out like a non-stop jukebox.
On the downside are the mostly unlikeable characters, who are largely vapid and colourless. Of course (why of course?) they're all self-centred and out only for themselves. No doubt, the capitalist 1980s were often about that, along with over-used and tiresome coke-taking scenes, but for a change, it'd be refreshing to have a film set in this era that showed the good side of human nature, instead.
Teresa Palmer is gorgeous, sure and understandably the desire of Matt, his pursuit of her being one of the driving forces of the movie. Unobtainable beauties were a feature for many '80s guys, including mine, so that rings true as well as adding some enjoyable eye candy. When Matt comes clean to her about his real job, not with Goldman Sachs but a video store clerk, is she too infatuated with his status and not him? Is she shallow enough to only want him when she thought he had money?
I'm afraid this movie had too many bumps, too many overplayed, unfunny shouting matches and generally an uneven tone, for me to enjoy. Is it a comedy, or a drama? Or, like the night of partying that we've endured, just a bit of a pain....
But if you're buying the film on the new fangled format - be aware that the 'US' BLU RAY on 20th Century Fox is REGION A LOCKED - so it won't play on our machines unless they're chipped for 'all regions' (which few are).
Stick with the UK variant instead - it's just as cheap and visually looks the part too.
Or go for “Hot Tub Time Machine” which is so much funnier in a great 1980’s way…
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