Movie Review: Don’t Stop Believin’ In “Take Me Home Tonight”

Everyone has those classic 80’s movies that they look back fondly on, Sixteen Candles, The Goonies, Ghostbusters, Labyrinth, etc. The list really does go on, doesn’t it? So much awesome shit came out of the 80’s, it’s very easy to make movies cashing in on that nostalgic feeling everyone gets when they see legwarmers and jellies. Take Me Home Tonight (originally titled “Kids in America”) is one of those movies, Deloreans and cocaine mixing with big hair and classic music.

The plot of Take Me Home Tonight all takes place on Labor Day night(?), involving three main characters.  Eric FormanMatt Franklin (Topher Grace) as he attempts get a date with his dream girl, Tori (Teresa Palmer). Matt’s twin sister, Wendy (Anna Faris) spends her night deciding how to handle the very serious turn her relationship with her boyfriend Kyle (Chris Pratt) is taking. Last but not least, it follows Barry (Dan Fogler), who was recently fired from his job and joins in on Matt’s adventurous night. I don’t want to go much further in the plot, simply because I don’t want to spoil any parts that you may find hilarious while watching this. (I leave ruining movies’ plots to the people who cut their trailers these days.)

While the plot is somewhat predictable, it’s no more predictable than any of the other 80’s movies that you love to re-watch. That was something major that I really liked about Take Me Home Tonight, it wasn’t shot as a modern comedy about the 80’s, but it was shot like a comedy movie from the 80’s. Now, some people may argue this, but I feel that they actually pulled it off. When you start the movie, you’re constantly being reminded of the distinct fashion and music, but as the film goes on, it wears off and it seems normal. Unlike movies such as Hot Tub Time Machine, where half the jokes are simply pointing at the 80’s, Take Me Home Tonight’s humor and plot are just set in the 80’s.

The cast of Take Me Home Tonight was terribly frightening to me when I saw them. It’s not like the actors in this are massive stars in Hollywood or best known for making comedies. Well, they’re somewhat known for comedies, but you can’t tell me that House Bunny and Balls of Fury will go down in the history books as classics. My point is, I was proven dead wrong. Topher Grace did a good job playing the awkward, underachiever doing his best to look suave, Dan Fogler was actually very funny in his role and he played it well, but the biggest shock could’ve been Anna Faris. Usually, I don’t think of Anna Faris as a serious character actress, but her character in this probably had the most serious role in the movie. She dropped the “cutesy” voice, ditched the blond hair and actually did a decent job playing an emotional role. It was almost relieving when, about half way through the movie, I realized that all the actors had great chemistry.There were quite a few small roles played by notable people like Demetri Martin, Bob Odenkirk and Michael Ian Black. While they were fun little bits and characters, they weren’t really necessary and didn’t contribute much overall. Still, I’m not complaining about it, because they were pretty funny.

If you enjoy the music from the 80’s, you could probably just see this movie for the soundtrack. As you would expect, they threw in every classic 80’s song that is beloved by all. Not that I’m saying that’s a bad thing, because I was discretely jamming out every time they came on. The same goes for things in the background and in the details, ranging from Reagan giving speeches to seeing Harry and the Hendersons playing on one of the TVs. All of these were able to add into that period, doing a great job of bringing you back into the 80’s. So, if you have any nostalgic feelings towards the 80’s, then I’d say you’ll probably enjoy getting snorted back into the feeling with this movie. Or if you’re one of those people that bitches and moans about the 80’s…then you can…do something else, I guess.

If I had one gripe about Take Me Home Tonight, it’d be that it had it’s share of cheesy moments. But, if you think about it, all 80’s movies were “Dangerously Cheesy”. So, it may have been poor execution of scenes and dialogue, or it might have been intentional to give it an authentic 80’s feel. I leave that up to all of you to decide, but I personally think that it was intentional, which made me like the movie that much more. Besides from the possibly intentional sappiness, the plot wasn’t entirely original or unique and sometimes, they were beating you over the head with what they were trying to get across, but that doesn’t make you enjoy it any less. Take Me Home Tonight is just joining into that genre of young comedy from the 80’s.

Surprising. That’s the one word that describes this movie for me. I thought Take Me Home Tonight looked lame from the trailers, I hadn’t heard anything about it, I didn’t think the cast would have any chemistry or humor in their lines, and I thought that it would be a gimmicky jab at the 80’s. But, I was proven wrong on all of these points. Take Me Home Tonight was a huge surprise to me, because I really enjoyed this movie. They pulled off a modern 80’s movie and I’m so glad that they did.

I give Take Me Home Tonight 4 “Straight Outta Compton’s” out of 5

 

By Blake Edwards

Final “80’s” Use Count: 17!

Blake

About Blake

Hi...I'm Blake and I'm a Cinephile. I've been this way since I can remember, although the environment I grew up in certainly contributed to my condition. As much as I love writing about films, I hope you all know that I write this for you. Look at me, Readers. It's all for you!

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