What do you say about a coming-of-age movie set in 1988, shot in 2007 and just now released? I mean, besides WTF? For starters, I’d say Take Me Home Tonight has just enough heart and retro party spirit to hold the line before familiarity breeds contempt.
Producer-star Topher Grace, moving up a decade from That ’70s Show, plays Matt Franklin, an MIT grad working at Suncoast Video while deciding what to do with his life. The decision? Party hearty. In a Mercedes stolen by his pal Barry (Dan Fogler), Matt hits a Labor Day blowout filled with blow (the drug use delayed the R-rated film’s release). He’s invited by unrequited high school crush Tori Frederking (Teresa Palmer), now an investment banker, who’s impressed when Matt lies that he’s a rising star at Goldman Sachs.
The movie, directed by Michael Dowse, is one raucous night, one raunchy party, American Graffiti filtered through Dazed and Confused and the Shermer High films of John Hughes. For spice, add Anna Faris as Matt’s twin sister in a relationship with Chris Pratt as the jock dipstick ready to put a ring on it. Matt finally boinks “The Frederking,” Barry slobbers over the ta-tas of a redhead with her date watching, coke is snorted, property is damaged and the soundtrack blasts Eighties covers (“Don’t You Want Me”). Take Me Home Tonight captures a moment in time with sly affection. You keep waiting for the engine to rev up, but it’s stuck on idle.