Rated R for language, sexual content and drug use, 100 minutes
Uneven but fun “Take Me Home Tonight” vapidly channels the ‘80s
As a child who endured the ‘80s, there are certain things I can appreciate about the new teen film “Take Me Home Tonight.” For one, the ‘80s soundtrack bubbles with energy, some of the outfits and hairstyles are hilariously bad and the cast seems to have a good time. Too bad the long-delayed film is a bit of a mess; its uneven, raunchy tone and predictable story are too well-worn; there are a few enjoyable moments but it clearly lacks the spunk of anything John Hughes might’ve done.
It's the late 1980s and Matt Franklin (Topher Grace), a brilliant but disillusioned young MIT graduate who walks out on a well-paid position at a local lab and takes a low-level job as a video clerk, much to his parents consternation. His best buddy Barry (Dan Fogler) was just fired from his job, his brainy twin sister Wendy (Anna Faris) is getting hitched to her vapid boyfriend Kyle (Chris Pratt), and the gorgeous Tori Frederking (Teresa Palmer), long-time object of Matt's unattainable adoration, is suddenly back in the picture. Now, on one wild and irresponsible evening, everything comes to a head, with explosively unpredictable results.
“Take Me Home Tonight” is a mixed bag: a mildly enjoyable raunchy teen comedy with Hughes-like aspirations that doesn’t smoothly come together. Inexplicably, the film, which was made in 2007, was delayed primarily to its raunchy tone, which would’ve worked better if it weren’t so similar to other movies. The whole teen-wild-party-over one-night-thing has been exasperated over the years (Hughes’ “Sixteen Candles” is the best film with this similar theme), and you have a sense of where it's going way, way before it gets there.
The talented cast, who work well together, are by now a bit too old for this type of thing, especially “That ‘70s Show” Grace, an utterly likable actor who should move to other things; the energetic Fogler, and the always engaging Faris, all of whom are now in their ‘30s. They seem to have fun however, and there are a handful of amusing moments, particularly the extended, overdone climax.
The best thing about “Take Me Home Tonight” is the ‘80s music heard at every turn (“Bette Davis Eyes,” “Safety Dance,” Oh Sherry” and more), which certainly brings back memories for those of us who endured the decade. Even the title is derived from the popular Eddie Money song, though that itself is an inexplicable title given the song isn’t in the film and the plot doesn’t involve anyone going home on this particular night.
Do yourself a favor, skip the film and pick up the soundtrack instead.
Wes’s Grade: C