Take Me Home Tonight
Take Me Home Tonight
Director: Michael Dowse
Writers: Jackie Filgo, Jeff Filgo, Topher Grace, Gordon Kaywin
Cast: Topher Grace, Anna Faris, Dan Fogler, Teresa Palmer, Chris Pratt, Michael Biehn, Jeanie Hackett, Lucy Punch
Synopsis: It's the late 1980s, when Wall Street is riding high, and it seems as if the entire country is cashing in on the bumper profits. Disgusted with the materialism that surrounds him, Matt Franklin, a brilliant young MIT graduate, has walked out on his well-paid position at a local lab and taken a low-level job as a video clerk, much to his father Bill's consternation. And the crises keep piling up in Matt's life. His best buddy Barry has just gotten fired from his job, his brainy sister Wendy is getting hitched to her vapid boyfriend Kyle, and the gorgeous Tori Frederking, long-time object of Matt's unattainable adoration, is suddenly back in the picture. Now, on one wild, woolly and irresponsible evening, everything is coming to a head, with explosive results.
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, sexual content and drug use
Remember the 80's
Although I know "Take Me Home Tonight" didn't do that well in theaters, it's still a fairly good comedy for what it is. To be honest, I have no idea why I was compelled to see this movie so much. It's not critically acclaimed, nor was it one of the biggest blockbusters of this year. Therefore, why did I see this film? Well a part of it had to do with Topher Grace, as I've been somewhat of a fan of his since "That 70's Show." Sure, he may have gotten a bad rap after being obviously miscast in "Spider-Man 3", but he's really a good actor when you follow his body of work. He's funny, charming and very witty whenever he has to be. Unfortunately, all the films that he's done do very little to reflect that. Whether it's because of a lousy script to work with like what happened in "Spider-Man 3", or he was simply overshadowed in such films like "Valentine's Day." Sadly, it seems Topher really hasn't been able to solidify his acting career since "That 70's Show." Can "Take Me Home Tonight" break that trend to finally solidify Topher's place in Hollywood? Or will this become another dud to add to his already struggling career? Well from the looks of things, I'd have to say the latter by default.
Sure, I'll be the first to admit that "Take Me Home Tonight" isn't the best film out there. Hell, I could probably name over a hundred different films that are better than this one if I wanted to, but I won't. Anyways, to make matters more interesting, the film takes place in the late eighties; which happens to be an era that I've always been secretly fascinated by. Sure, some people are fascinated by the culture that we had in the fifties, sixties, seventies or whatever. However for me, it's definitely the eighties. Although, I never understood why I've always been so fascinated by that particular era in US history. Could it be because I was born in the early eighties? (1980 to be exact) Or, maybe it's because a part of me feels that so much cultural relevance happened in that era, and I feel like I might have missed out on a lot of things because I was so young at the time. After all, the only fond memories that I have of the eighties are the old cartoons like "Thundercats", "He-Man", "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and "Transformers." And although I don't remember the eighties too well, I still find myself drawn to that culture whenever I see it in a movie. I could never explain why exactly. Perhaps on a subconscious level it fascinates me for the exact same reasons I just speculated, or it could be something much deeper. Or perhaps, it could all be one giant coincidence. Who really knows?
Anyways, for those two reasons alone, I felt compelled to watch "Take Me Home Tonight." Was it worth it? Well yes and no to be quite honest. On the one hand, I can see where the film was trying to lead to, and it does in it's own unique way. While on the other hand, you can't help but feel that many of the film's plot devices have been done before, and much better too than what we've see in this movie; hence the dilemma.
Set in the late 1980's, Matt Franklin (Topher Grace) is a MIT graduate that leaves his job in engineering, as he feels it's not something that he wants to do with his life. From there, he ends up working as a store clerk with Suncoast videos, and he's forced to move back in with his parents; after being on his own for the past ten years. Miserable with his life, as he's scared about taking a chance at a career that he may not be happy about, so he stays at home wallowing in his own pity. Meanwhile, his twin sister is currently engaged to a chauvinistic moron, who cares about his own needs more so than hers. As her dreams are to attend Cambridge University someday, but he doesn't want her to go because...(gasp)..he doesn't know where that is! Gee, talk about selfish if you ask me.
Of course, lets not forget about Barry (Dan Fogler), who happens to be Matt's best friend since high school. Like Matt, Dan's life also sucks, as he recently gets fired by the car dealership that he works for. Indeed, life just couldn't be worse for Matt until Tori (Teresa Palmer) walks back into his life. Tori is Matt's high school crush, but he never had the nerve to ask her out before. When they meet in the film, Matt lies to Tori about being a banker at Goldman Sachs to impress her, and it works too, as she ends up inviting him to go to a party that night with her. Apparently, all of Matt's old high school buddies will be there, along with some of Tori's coworkers as well. At first, the party seems to be going rather well, as Matt successfully manages to woo Tori, and everyone seems to be having a good time. However, as the night continues, it all leads up to an explosive climax that could cause Matt to reevaluate his life.
To be honest, I wouldn't call "Take Me Home Tonight" necessarily a bad film, as it did have an interesting premise that could have worked if the script was a bit better. In some ways, this movie's premise reminded me a bit of Dustin Hoffman's "The Graduate." Not that I would dare compare this movie to the "The Graduate", but the main characters in both movies are similar in a lot ways. In "The Graduate", Dustin Hoffman plays a young man that's unsure of what he wants out life, after graduating college. However, the film is set up so fluently that the audience can almost feel exactly what he's going through, and introspective on the characters were so thought provokingly deep that you couldn't help but fall in love with the film. Whereas "Take Me Home Tonight", it had a great premise with a main character that's also confused about what exactly he wants to do with his life.
Unfortunately, the climax for this movie is too abrupt, and quite frankly doesn't make a lot of sense from a logical perspective. Sure, it makes sense as you watch the movie, but a part of you tends to question, around the ending, what does rolling down in a metal ball prove exactly?
It's kind of a shame, as I thought this movie had a lot of promise. Unfortunately, the later half of the film is a bit rushed, and hardly offers any closure other than a cliche Hollywood ending that really doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Which is kind of a shame, as "Take Me Home Tonight" could have been so much more.
In the end, I'd have to give this move a two out of four. It was fairly decent for what it is, and it's definitely worth renting if you ever get a chance to see it. Unfortunately, it starts off with such great potential to be a great film, but it never quite reaches that potential.