Thursday, July 28, 2011

Take Me Home Tonight


Set in the late 80’s, the entire movie is set in one night of Matt Franklin’s (Topher Grace) life. He just graduated from MIT but works for a video store in a mall and still lives with his parents. One day while on duty, he runs into Tori Fredreking (Teresa Palmer), his high school crush. Pretending to be working for Goldman Sachs (after tweaking his uniform to a more casual look), he agrees to go to a party of his high school batch later that night so he could try to win her over. Tagging along are his sister Wendy (Anna Faris) and his best friend Barry Nathan (Dan Fogler), a college dropout who just got fired from his job selling cars.

Sorry if the synopsis seems lacking. In fact, that is the movie’s problem. It looks like a forgettable straight-to-DVD “period” comedy. This does not mean, however, that it was a waste of money on my part. I actually liked it despite the lack of impact it has in terms of brilliant filmmaking. I honestly thought that it would have two segments: a flashback and a modern day flash-forward. Instead, it starts and ends in the 80’s, on that particular night in that party where the movie is set.

It is all about the uncertainty of adulthood, a theme that I really find easy to to relate to since I am also struggling to find my purpose in life. After his stint in That 70’s Show, it would not have been that hard for Topher Grace to give life to a similar role in a movie set one decade later. I like how he attacks his character here. You can just feel how lost he really is trying to find out what he really wants in life.

Anna Faris is underutilized, which is a shame because I actually find her funny. Her role gets less exposure than Grace’s despite sharing equal billing. Palmer does an okay portrayal of the high school prom queen who also turns out to be lost. Fogler is the obligatory sidekick whose sole purpose in the movie is to bring comic relief via slapstick. It works most of the time, even though there are times when the exaggeration just makes you cringe. Michelle Trachtenberg is unrecognizable at first in her small role as the non-conformist Gothic chick.

It is easy to get what the makers behind this movie are trying to say. What is wrong about the movie is probably with the delivery. The plot is just so contrived. Everything is forced to fit in one night, which is quite a short period of time for character development to be believable. The setting in the eighties could probably lure in some modern day teens out of curiosity, although the box office returns do not really agree. In the end you would barely have any recollection of this movie and would probably just label it as that teen comedy set in the 80’s starring Topher Grace and Anna Faris.

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