Review: Take Me Home Tonight

Friday, March 4 by

Boy, they just don’t make ‘80s movies like they used to. Not like the good old days of the ‘90s. The Wedding Singer and Can’t Hardly Wait were much more like the ‘80s movies that inspired them. Even Hot Tub Time Machine. That was bad, but it got the ‘80s formula right.

Take Me Home Tonight is the classic story of a shy, unpopular guy who wants a shot with his high school dream girl. It’s already after college graduation, but everyone’s back in town for a party. Matt’s (Topher Grace) big plan? Tell Tori (Teresa Palmer) he works at Goldman Sachs, when he really works at Suncoast Video.

That’s it? Lie about your job? Just to get her phone number (that’s really all he wants)? In the ‘80s, the big scheme was buying the popular girl for a month or at least borrowing her panties. They don’t even make Tori an ironically desirable bitch. Here in the ‘00s we don’t have unlikable romantic leads.

Matt went to MIT but doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life, so he’s not getting a high paying job. Dude, that’s the ‘90s slacker mentality, not the ‘80s. The clothes and the hair are cute and the girls look great but this movie is made by ‘90s kids who think they get the ‘80s but they don’t.

There are a few funny parts but most of it is hipster humor, like look how retro we are but really we’re just playing at it. Matt’s twin sister Wendy (Anna Faris) knows all of Matt’s schtick so she says everything he’s going to say at the same time, including spontaneous profanity. They both know Barry’s(Dan Fogler) schtick too so they narrate it from a distance. Barry and Matt lip sync “Straight Outta Compton,” including the N word. Because they’re actually white.

Demetri Martin is by far the funniest thing in the movie. He’s in two scenes as a wheelchair bound high school success story. His brand of humor works on its own, even in the middle of this. Barry agreeing to let a woman’s husband watch them do it ends up being funny for an easy joke, as does Barry trying to talk dirty to her.

The romance is actually sweet, but it takes a yuppie banker party and carefree yard hopping to get there. Wendy’s D-bag boyfriend Kyle (Chris Pratt) actually makes good at one point. Matt’s dad, Bill (Michael Biehn), delivers a decent, but in now way profound, message. Just take a shot. Do something! Then he really overdoes the gun metaphor.

There’s a reason this movie took four years and two different titles to come out. They had the best of intentions but it just doesn’t work no matter how they spin it.