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Take Me Home Tonight (2011)

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 7/19/2011

All Ratings out of
Movie: 1/2
Video: 1/2
Audio: 1/2
Extras: 1/2

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 7/29/2011

Despite the fact that we all love technology (especially Kip Dynamite) and we are always looking for the next big thing, we also love looking to the past. It seems that every few years, a particular decade from the past comes into vogue, influencing fashion and pop culture. And every once in a while, it's the 1980s. As someone who grew up in the 80s, I, unlike many, understand the allure of that time period, and it still informs many of my tastes. Therefore, I get why someone would want to make a movie set in the 80s. But, I'm not sure I get why it took so long for Take Me Home Tonight to be released.

Take Me Home Tonight is set in 1988. Four years removed from high school, Matt Franklin (Topher Grace) still doesn't know what he wants to do with his life, despite the fact that he attended MIT. He spends his time working at a video store and with his best friend, Barry (Dan Fogler), who works at a car dealership. Matt's twin sister, Wendy (Anna Faris), is contemplating going to grad school in England, but she hasn't told her boyfriend, Kyle (Chris Pratt). Matt has never gotten over his school-aged crush, Tori Frederking (Teresa Palmer) and went she comes into the video store, he lies and tells her that he works in banking, as does she. They agree to meet at Kyle's annual party. Once there, Matt does everything that he can to keep his charade intact, but things begin to unravel around him. Unsure of his future, while still living in the past, Matt decides that he will live life to the fullest just this one night.

Why is Take Me Home Tonight set in the 1980s? Well, I'm not 100% certain on the answer to that question, but I have a theory -- the movie is a homage to the wild, raucous teenaged comedies which were popular in the 1980s. The story falls somewhere between Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Sixteen Candles, and it contains all of the stereotypical plot points from those movies -- hot girls, dorky guys, annoying jocks, a wild party, and a misunderstanding. Of course, homage can only take you so far, and the movie pales in comparison to the films which inspired it. The other problem here is that aping famous movies makes Take Me Home Tonight seem unoriginal. If you've seen some of the classic 80s comedies, then you are going to feel as if you've seen Take Me Home Tonight.

But, that shouldn't stop this from being a good, or at least watchable movie. The movie was co-written by two writers of That 70's Show, which explains Topher Grace's involvement. Once upon a time, that show was funny, but there aren't many humorous moments here. Take Me Home Tonight is one of those odd movies where something is always happening, and it's rarely boring, but I found myself watching it, stonefaced waiting for something truly funny to happen, but it never does. Anna Faris has a few good lines, but otherwise the movie sets up one scene after another of things which are supposed to be funny, but aren't.  Part of the blame for this goes to Dan Fogler. Cast as the chubby, out-of-control sidekick, Fogler manages to bring little to the film. I've never liked him in anything else, and he certainly doesn't help here.

Take Me Home Tonight was shot in 2007 and sat, unreleased for four years. As with many of these "lost" films, it's easy to see why. While the movie isn't a total trainwreck, it wastes a promising cast and does very little with its 1988 setting. While this could have been a fun piece of faux-nostalgia, it instead become a tired retread of a movie which occasionally says, "Hey, this happened in the 80s. Right?" In the end, the only interesting thing about the movie is that this is where Anna Faris met her future husband Chris Pratt.

Take Me Home Tonight apparently assumes that we all have giant spheres in our towns on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 36 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source material. The colors look very good, as the movie features some bright 80s tones, and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is good, as we can see textures on objects and the depth is slightly above average. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 2.5 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The movie contains a lot of great 80s songs and they sounds very good here, providing good stereo effects and solid bass. We also get good stereo and surround effects from the party scenes. These effects never overpower the dialogue and things remain well-balanced throughout.

The Take Me Home Tonight Blu-ray Disc contains only a few extras. The Disc offers seven DELETED SCENES which run about 11 minutes. Oddly, there are actually some funny moments here. Who edited this movie? "Cast Get Together" (8 minutes) allows to see that the original title was "Kids in America" and takes us into a chat with Grace, Faris, Pratt, and Lucy Punch who talk about working together. (Not sure when this was shot.) "Music Boom Box" offers trivia on 12 songs featured in the movie and allows to go directly to the scene in which that song played. We get a MUSIC VIDEO which features an unidentified band performing a cover of Human League's "Don't You Want Me Baby" while cast members do a lot of stereotypical things from the 80s. This is simply painful. The final extras are the THEATRICAL TRAILER for the film and two TV SPOTS.

Review Copyright 2011 by Mike Long