Friday, March 04, 2011

FILM REVIEW: Take Me Home Tonight

In 2007, Spider-Man 3 was supposed to be a stepping stone for Topher Grace, but four years later his acting career has been pretty uneventful, apart from the supporting roles in such popcorn films as Valentine's Day and Predators. Given the general lack of momentum that his career has, it makes perfect sense that Topher would decide to write and produce his own film. Because who is more likely to hire him as a lead actor than he himself? Of course, he didn't really write it. He just thought of the story with Gordon Kaywin, and Jackie and Jeff Filgo, former "That 70s Show" writers, were the ones who wrote it. So technically, he just went back to drink from a dry well. Then, on top of that, he decided to promote this as a John Hughes-esque comedy. Did it work? Ehhhh not really. It opened with $3 mil. But the question is whether or not moviegoers are missing out.

The film is set in the 80s during Labor Day weekend. The main character is Matt Franklin, a video store clerk who has a serious case of quarter life crisis syndrome after graduating from college and realizing he doesn't know what to do with his life. That is until he sees the one that got away, Tori Frederking, played by the latest addition to the hot Hollywood actresses list, Teresa Palmer (I Am Number Four), who looks like a blonde (and happy) Kristen Stewart. He was a major dork in high school, even though his twin sister Wendy (Anna Faris) was ultra popular, so he never mustered up enough courage to ask her out. Empowered by the sight of her and driven by his general lack of direction, he decides to pretend to be a sports car driving Goldman Sachs employee so he can win her over. Of course, it wouldn't be one of those John Hughes generation snapshots if everyone wasn't having a quarter life crisis. Turns out Tori realizes her boss only favors her because she's beautiful and she hates how boring her job is even though she makes insane amounts of money. Matt's best friend Barry (Dan Fogler from Fanboys), who helps him steal the sports car, lost his job at the dealership for being the worst salesman, so he decides to become a coke addict. And Wendy is waiting to hear back from Cambridge to see if she's moving to England to study creative writing, but her preppy jock boyfriend Kyle (Chris Pratt from "Parks and Recreation") would much prefer it if she stayed and married his moronic, inconsiderate ass. So it would seem Matt's contagious.
The film reminds me of Can't Hardly Wait, that late 90s teen flick about a guy who spends all night trying to tell the girl of his dreams that he's in love with her at their last high school party, while so many other random things happen throughout the night. The main difference between these two films is that Matt manages to get the girl half-way through the film and then spends the rest of it trying to regain her trust. All of his apologetic gestures and humiliating experiences would've been totally noteworthy had I thought 1) she merited the attention and 2) they were compatible. It seemed more like he was just another symptom of her quarter-life crisis, not the one who almost got away. However, despite the fact that the love story fell flat, I do think this generation of 20somethings could benefit from the ultimate moral of the story: Stop being afraid of life.

But if you don't watch comedies for life lessons but to actually laugh, you just might get a few watching this flick, because if you can't laugh at two white boys enthusiastically rapping N.W.A.'s "Straight Outta Compton" while driving a stolen vehicle, then you're dead inside.

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