Friday, September 27, 2013

Take Me Home Tonight (2011)(Minor Spoilers Review)

**This review contains MINOR spoilers, no big surprises, plot twists, or details are revealed in this review **

In 1980’s Los Angeles, a Young Matt Franklin (Topher Grace) tries to win the heart of  his high school crush, Tori Frederking (Teresa Palmer) with the help of his twin sister, Wendy (Anna Faris), and his best friend, Barry Nathan (Dan Fogler). Working at a Suncoast Video store within the local mall after graduating from MIT, Matt is under pressure from his father, Bill (Micahel Biehn), who also works nights as a police officer, to do something meaningful with his life before it’s too late. Meanwhile, Matt tries to warn Wendy about her boyfriend Kyle Masterson’s (Chris Pratt) controlling habits, and his dreams to confine Wendy to the life of a common housewife.

During Kyle’s annual Labor Day bash, Matt plans to make his move on Tori by devising a plan to convince her of a career at Goldman Sachs as a big time player, and his new and fancy car (which Barry stole), a red Mercedes-Benz convertible. Matt begs the help of an old friend named Carlos (Demetri Martin), who is also a current Goldman Sachs employee, to convince Tori. But Matt runs into a series of problems during the big night, and with a need to conqueror his fears in more ways than one, Matt contemplates taking the risk of riding The Ball.

Looking for a new, exciting, and refreshing romantic comedy/coming of age film? Well, you should look somewhere else, because Take Me Home Tonight isn’t for you. Take Me Home Tonight features the common set of characters you would expect in a coming of age film. Matt is your typical shy and nerdy male teenager, who’s awkward and nervous around women, and he’s trying to break out of his shell, so he can become a man. Tori is the seemingly unattainable perfect ten, who everyone man dreams of being with. Kyle is the meathead/jock, and he’s a bully with a superficial ego. And Barry is the bumbling fool of a sidekick.

Don’t expect any genuine surprises either. Once Matt tells the truth to Tori, you know what’s going to happen. Tori will hate Matt’s guts for a while, but Matt will redeem himself with a big speech (or in this case speeches) at the end, and Tori will forgive him.

Take Me Home Tonight is predictable as predictable can be, but I still love this film. Grace provides one of the best performances I’ve seen from him, as this lost and confused screw-up, who’s trying to find his way in the world. Michael Biehn is a suitable fit for the stern father, Faris and Pratt share some great chemistry as a couple (not surprising, because they’re a couple in real life too), and her performance isn’t something special, but Palmer has the right look for the “dream girl.” Fogler is annoying as shit more often than not, but he has a few funny moments (“he’s got no testes left!”) throughout the movie. Demetri Martin’s screen time is limited, but he’s hilarious, as the paraplegic with an ironic sense of humor. Michael Ian Black’s Pete Bering is good for a few laughs, as Tori’s perverted, geeky, and slimy boss. And I can't forget about Lucy Punch's Shelly. Punch portrays this nutty, delusional, and obsessive stalker, who follows Matt around throughout the night with the hopes of a one night stand. Punch is limited to sporadic appearances, but she provides a nice touch of quirky humor as Shelly during her limited screen time.

Take Me Home Tonight is loaded with a lot of authentic 80’s nostalgia (everything from the intro, to the music, the hairstyles, the cars, the clothes, dances, and the lone Scarface reference), and if (that’s a big IF) you’re willing to overlook the predictability, you can have a lot of fun with this one. Yeah, I know. There’s a good chance a lot of people will roll their eyes at Palmer’s Tori, because some will have a hard time believing in one person being so gullible, and well, stupid, as Matt randomly pulls all of these lies out of left field, while improvising a backstory step by step for his fake career at Goldman Sachs.

Rating: 8/10

Still, Take Me Home Tonight features a rock solid cast, consistent laughs, and despite all the negativity surrounding this film, Take Me Home Tonight isn‘t so unbearably bad to the point, where you can‘t stand to watch it. Take Me Home Tonight won’t raise the bar for coming of age films and romantic comedies, but if you’re looking for a real chance to have some fun and laugh, Take Me Home Tonight isn‘t a bad choice.

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