Thursday, August 4, 2011

Take Me Home Tonight - Too Few Laughs, Not Enough Cocaine

The Nateflix Review of Take Me Home Tonight
By Nate Hensley

In Take Me Home Tonight, Topher Grace spends a wild night with his friends – party hopping, chasing the girl of his dreams, and trying to figure out this big crazy thing called “life” and where he fits into it.

Yeah, its one of those kind of movies, where an entire crowd of people will fall silent and listen to a nerdy loser guy wax philosophical on why he isn’t succeeding in life. The sort of thing that seems right at home in those old Afterschool Specials, but has no place in reality… or in movies for grown folks.

The movie takes place over the course of one night at some point in the 80s, where three close friends all have their lives changed forever. Not in a cool way, like accidentally killing someone and covering it up, but in a self-reflective way. This can be done very well, and can be very funny (see Dazed & Confused for proof), but in Take Me Home Tonight they get focused on the maudlin, and lose sight of the laughs. I digress…

Grace, his twin sister Anna Farris, and his erstwhile best friend Dan Fogler are all at a crossroads. Farris is going to get married to a guy who is so obviously an idiot bully that it makes her supposedly smart character seem both myopic and brain damaged. Fogler (who is a supposedly lovable idiot) just got fired (due to idiocy), and is on a downward spiral he tries to stop with booze and cocaine. And then there is Grace, an MIT graduate who works at a mall and moans about not having a purpose in life.

They all decide to get crazy for the party. They steal a car, in which they find a huge bag of cocaine, and hit a party, where Grace immediately starts lying about his life to impress people. Because, ya know, that’s how to generate sympathy for your protagonist – make him a lying, worthless sack of crap. When he spots the girl of his dreams, he kicks into lying overdrive.

So already I’ve highlighted a few of the flaws with the movie – it’s corny, it’s hackneyed, it has unlikeable characters behaving in ways human being usually don’t behave. But bigger than any of those problems, it isn’t funny. The only thing a comedy needs to do is make me laugh, and I can overlook anything else. Take Me Home Tonight does not bring the laughs. And without those, all we have left is the “oh poor me, I don’t want to get a job” whining of Grace, who spent almost a decade doing the same thing on That 70s Show.

Incidentally, Grace is credited with the “story” which is interesting in that this movie basically just transplants his 70s character to the 80s, and changes nothing else about him. And that’s really too bad, because there is a funny movie to be made about the 80s. This movie seems to think playing 80s music and having 80s fashions is enough to get by, and its’ sorely mistaken. Even cocaine, the seminal drug of the 80s, is given a reduced roll (seriously, a huge party in 80s Los Angeles and theres only one guy there with coke? And he FOUND it on accident? Puh-leeze.)

I could go on for several hundred more words, but instead I’ll cut it short and sum it up thusly – Take Me Home Tonight is lame. It isn’t very funny. It’s not terrible, but it doesn’t give me one single reason to recommend it. So do not pay attention to the title, and do not take it home tonight.

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