D: Michael Dowse. DP: Terry Stacey. W: Jackie Filgo & Jeff Filgo. Starring: Topher Grace/Anna Farris/Dan Fogler/Teresa Palmer/Chris Pratt/Michael Beinn/Lucy Punch/Michelle Trachtenberg/Michael Ian Black.
One of the greatest accomplishments for the age of the 1980s in American cinema is the perfection of the teen angst film. Somehow no other generation has been able to create so many cultural classics. Whether your favorite is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or The Breakfast Club, there is no denying the longevity these films have with youth culture. However, recreating the 1980s is another challenge entirely. Take Me Home Tonight attempts to do just that while also addressing the angst of the post-teen, the recent college graduate.
Now in their twenties and forced to contemplate their future, recent MIT graduate Matt (Topher Grace, who also received a story credit) and his twin sister Wendy (Anna Farris) are stuck at the current crossroads of their life. Where Farris’ character is able to make decisions, have relationships and be excited about her future, Grace’s Matt is not. Desolate and confused, Grace is working at his local video store when his high school crush Tori (Teresa Palmer) walks into the store. Pretending to not work there and not remember her, Grace decides to attend the high school reunion-esq labor day party that night and finally get this gal’s phone number. Along for the ride is his reliably weird best friend Barry, played by Dan Fogler.
Grace and Folger make a comparable team, where Grace is sarcastic and awkward, Fogler is sloppy and stupid. Both working out their own problems with their future, they form a nice comedic duo that thankfully doesn’t have to rely too heavily on Farris’ pouts and tears to keep the laughs going. Ultimately, the scenes that are the most memorable are not the overtly funny ones, but rather the smaller moments between Grace and his crush Palmer. Grace’s inability to articulate sentences or be socially magnanimous will remind most audiences of themselves at some point or surely someone they’ve met. His inability to know what he wants or how to figure out should also resonate with young audiences who are continue to graduate into a work environment over-saturated with educated newcomers and riddled with unemployment. Yet, set all this to a great 1980s soundtrack and you’ve got some blissful movie fun, and of course, that is all this is.
A fun (or grueling?) tidbit about the film is that it took about four years to be released. Why you may ask? Cocaine. Not abundantly present in the film, cocaine (obviously a hugely popular party drug of “only” 80s) plays a decent role in Grace and Fogler’s night out. Due to this content the film was shelved for years until Imagine Entertainment (Ron Howard’s company) stepped in to push it into theaters. Thankfully this happened and allowed the film to have a bit more realism for its time period, including a little punishment.