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Take Me Home Tonight

Take Me Home Tonight

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

THE ‘80s continues to be a bottomless source of inspiration for American filmmakers (and TV producers) who seemingly can’t get enough of its music, fashions and lifestyle.

The latest to try and exploit the decade for ‘laughs’ is tepid comedy Take Me Home Tonight, a formulaic coming-of-age romantic comedy drama that opts for a little extra raunch than normal.

Unfortunately, what could have emerged as a fun nostalgic romp that evokes the spirit of past cult classics such as Animal House quickly becomes a tired and sometimes crass exercise in going through the motions that even wastes a couple of good performances.

Topher Grace, one time star of TV hit That ‘70s Show, stars as recent MIT grad Matt who, at 23, no longer knows what to do with his life (or education) and who remains perpetually frustrated at his inability to find ‘an in’ to asking high school crush Tori (Teresa Palmer) out on a date.

His shot at redemption comes during one long night of partying, which he attends with twin sister Wendy (Anna Faris) and recently sacked best friend Barry (Dan Fogler).

Michael Dowse’s film, which is derived from an initial story idea from Grace, has plenty of potential given its cool soundtrack selections and [mostly] appealing cast.

But while there is the odd smirk to be found here and there, much of what happens appears to be going through the motions for this kind of thing and fails to hit the comedic highs of better, more contemporary comedies such as Superbad or even the American Pie series.

Grace manages to retain his usual charm and charisma despite being a pretty rigid stereotype, Palmer is a suitably sexy object of affection who continues to build on the good work she did in I Am Number Four and it’s fun seeing Michael Biehn in a supporting role as Grace’s dad.

But Faris is wasted in a sub-plot that doesn’t really go anywhere and Fogler comes across as more obnoxious than endearing and is unwisely saddled with attempting to get most of the big laughs out of proceedings.

To make matters worse, the story seldom dares to do anything other than the obvious, providing viewers with a generic countdown to the inevitable, while its devotion to faithfully recreating the ‘80s rather than parodying them means that it also feels rather dated.

You’ll be yearning to be taken home long before the final credits emerge.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 98mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: September 12, 2011