Was able to enjoy a screening of Take Me Home Tonight a few weeks before it came out thanks to this site, so I thought I would write a small review for those interested. I will attempt to keep this spoiler free for those who haven't seen it yet.
Take Me Home Tonight has a plot focus that's pretty straightforward. Main character Matt Franklin (Topher Grace) obsesses over his high school crush Tori (Teresa Palmer) and how he never had his "IN" to ask her out. Suddenly she pops up at his work, he talks smooth enough to get her interested and she invites him to a party later. Best friend Barry (Dan Fogler) gets fired from his dead end job in car sales. And sister Wendy (Anna Faris) happens to be the girlfriend of the jock throwing the big party.
Let me start by saying I love the 80's. The sound, the style and the mood. All unique to a generation that had no idea what they were doing or why. Due to the fact that Take Me Home Tonight is a movie about the 80's, the film makers never want to let you forget it. During the whole film, they push song after song, and reference after reference. There is so much cliche stuck in this film to try to give it a nostalgic feel that it's kind of jarring. If at any point during the movie you forget you're watching a film about the 80's, never fear! It will remind you soon enough with a blatently obvious 80's reference. Whether it's Scarface or the Safety Dance... It's all here. Personally I would have preferred subtle hints all over the place, less in your face... You know? Like real life!
Anywho, the movie progresses at a crawl with antics ensuing as do modern comedies. Mostly physical humor involving someone getting hurt, or the new Will Ferrel aka Dan Fogler, getting mad and loud at the same time. The comedic element in the film is kind of a one time go, the jokes probably won't be funny a second time around because you've seen them or heard the potty joke and are expecting it. Speaking of which, the movie is rated R and pushes the fact very hard on the audience. Not that I care, but I didn't realize that people dropped that many F-Bombs in the 80's. The fact certainly wasn't committed to any 80's film I've seen or remember.
The movie itself gives off a familiar John Hughes 80's feel. The plot is predictable, but that's partly the charm of some of the 80's films that hold up so well. We know the guy is gonna get the girl, we just don't know how. What he's going to do grow during the film. Also, even though the movie is about post-college graduates, it still wants to be a coming of age movie, which is sort of an odd theme for a movie such as this. I guess it's a social statement to the current generation of college goers that end up not knowing what they want to do even after graduating...
All in all, the movie isn't bad. It just isn't great. The characters are likeable but forgettable. There is nothing in the movie you haven't seen before. At times the movie feels too long. The movie gets so stuck on being a product of the 80's that it gets anchored down by the dedication to the period. It can't really make up it's mind if it wants to be it's own movie, or just a homage to all things New Wave. Minor complaints: They don't wrap up all the sub plots neatly, which my wife said was to leave open for a sequel, but I don't buy that. Also, there's this long run on gag with a tiny bag of cocaine that should have been far used up before the end of the movie's last stupid powder face slapstick...
There are a few scenes that are genuinely funny. And certainly could be funny the second round, such as one where Topher shows off his character's mathmatical prowess to impress his lady and to ward off her jerk boss. But the gems of the movie are too few and far between to warrent repeat viewings for myself. I enjoyed the film and laughed at the stupid jokes. But reflecting on it after the fact, I just don't can't recommend it to anyone looking to relive the 80's glory of Breakfast Club or any other period movie in that genre.
Out of 5 stars, I would give the film 3. Worth watching with friends.