Take Me Home Tonight
Director: Michael Dowse
As a recent graduate of MIT, Matt Franklin’s (Topher Grace) existential angst has left him hopelessly indecisive with regard to the direction his life will take. Biding his time at the local Suncoast video (check-off first 80’s reference), Matt’s first glimpse of inspiration is presented to him in the form of his high school crush Tori (Teresa Palmer). After convincing her that he is, in fact, a promising young executive at the west coast branch of Goldman Sachs, Tori offers up a casual invite to the end of the summer party hosted by the collar-popped boyfriend of Matt’s twin sister Wendy (Anna Faris). After forming a trio with his sister and newly unemployed best friend Barry (Dan Fogler), what transpires is an all-in-one-night coming of age 80’s tribute film.
Taking place in 1988, the film itself is littered with kitchy pop-culture references from a time not-so-long past. Beginning with the inexpensive use of an Eddie Money song as a title, to the subtle 80’s outfits, the film itself does strike the right tone. However, one is left to struggle with the all too obvious question of, “Why the 80’s?” How does the story benefit at all from taking place in this decade? Quite frankly, it doesn’t. The plot is not furthered and the characters are not developed by employing the 1980’s as a setting. The only alternative explanation is that writers selected the decade as means of spoon feeding the audience lazy jokes.
The performances themselves are suitable. Grace’s character is all too familiar as the unsure of himself sweet guy, and Palmer as the love interest gets the job done (even if her physical resemblance to Kristen Stewart is uncanny). Fortunately, however, we are treated to a handful of interesting performances from Dan Fogler and Demetri Martin (not to mention a creepy sex scene with 80’s fashion model Angie Everhart). Ultimately though, the aggregate is unremarkable.
What really strikes at the mediocre core of this film is the writing. The in-film moments that are meant to be uncomfortably funny are simply uncomfortable. In fact, there were moments when the on-screen awkwardness was just as tangible in the theater; pity laughs were abundant. What remains is an homage to the past that is, ironically, shortly destined to be forgotten.