Take Me Home Tonight
dir Michael Dowse
scr Jackie Filgo, Jeff Filgo
prd Ryan Kavanaugh, Jim Whitaker, Sarah Bowen
with Topher Grace, Teresa Palmer, Anna Faris, Dan Fogler, Chris Pratt, Michael Biehn, Michelle Trachtenberg, Lucy Punch, Demetri Martin, Jeanie Hackett, Michael Ian Black, Angie Everhart
release US 4.Mar.11, UK 13.May.11
11/US Imagine 1h37
Take Me Home Tonight
High school crush: Grace and Palmer

faris fogler bieihn
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Take Me Home Tonight He built his name on That '70s Show, and now Topher Grace stars in, produces and came up with the story for what should have been called That '80s Movie. Clearly, the intention was to recreate the vibe of 1983's freewheeling romp Risky Business. And while it's good fun, it's also forgettable.

Matt (Grace) was a high-achiever in the class of 1984. He's just earned a top four-year engineering degree from MIT, but has no idea what to do with the rest of his life. Then one day he bumps into his high school crush Tori (Palmer) and pretends to be a successful banker. Soon he's invited to a cool party at the home of Kyle (Pratt), the hard-partying boyfriend of Matt's twin sister Wendy (Faris). And when Matt's goofy pal Barry (Fogler) tags along, it becomes clear that trouble won't be too far behind.

Yes, like Risky Business, this is one of those films in which every bad decision makes things a whole lot worse, as Barry and Matt steal a cool car from Barry's workplace to impress Tori, then indulge in all sorts of wackiness at Kyle's party. Fortunately, Grace is likeable enough to watch even when things turn ludicrously silly around him. His chemistry with Palmer makes their tentative connection almost believable. And Faris is good fun as well, complete with a silly subplot of her own.

Meanwhile, filmmaker Dowse floods the screen with a riot of mid-80s kitsch, from big hair and shoulder pads to pastel colours, shiny fabrics and every 80s anthem you can think of (including NWA's Straight Outta Compton). And even though these characters are meant to be in their early 20s, there are continual nods to teen movie classics of the period, including the bone-headed plot and its earnest "be yourself" moralising.

As it progresses, the comedy of embarrassment becomes rather exhausting, especially since Fogler's increasingly ridiculous experiences distract badly from the central narrative. But it's at least colourful and energetic, with some genuinely hilarious lines peppered throughout the dialog. But we never for a moment believe any of the characters. Or the relationships between them.

cert 15 themes language, sexuality, drugs 9.May.11

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© 2011 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall