Take Me Home Tonight

Ron Batzdorff/Relativity Media

Review in a Hurry: Still pining for his high school crush, 23-year-old Matt Franklin (Topher Grace) feels stuck working at Suncoast Video. Which also means that TMHT is yet another film stuck in the '80s. But don't eject that VHS tape just yet! While the story of a Valley dude who falls for a radical gal (Teresa Palmer) in one long, party-filled night could have been so totally played out, the story gets better and better as it reaches the climatic (and action-packed!) finale.

Led by Anna Faris, this is a comedy with great turns by all the gals, which is really not very '80s at all, but we don't mind.

The Bigger Picture: A recent MIT grad, Matt (Grace) should be well on his way to Gordon Gekko yuppiedom, but he's more like Marty McFly, a slacker. His father (in a great cameo by OG Terminator's Michael Biehn) is a cop who worries about him since there's no future working at a video store. Dad might be right (and a prophet since it's 1988)—but then Tori (Palmer), the only girl Matt has ever loved, walks into Suncoast. She invites him to an epic end-of-summer party. He quickly says he'll be there—and even quicker—lies about his job, saying he's not a video clerk but works for a big Fortune 500 company. (Ah, deception, so '80s.) With his snarky twin sister Wendy (Faris) and best pal Barry (Dan Fogler) along for the ride, Matt attempts to get everything right in one crazy "Safety Dance" night.

All the staples we've seen in a dozen or so "remember when" comedies are present: record shops covered in Madonna and Guns N' Roses posters (heck, record stores period!), copious amounts of nose candy and fashion fit for a Nagel poster.

The first act of Take Me feels too familiar. We get it, Matt's a totally clueless dude and those richies (led by Parks and Recreations' Chris Pratt) with the polo shirts are super annoying. And isn't it funny when Barry slaps a ton of mousse in his hair? Um, not really.

But then during a late-night car heist, Faris' Wendy takes over in that way that Faris does best: stating the obvious. It's time for Matt to man up!

While there are plenty of gags to be a had—like a break-dance battle between Barry and a guy who can actually groove—the script by Jackie and Jeff Filgo (based on a story by Grace) feels more akin to Cameron Crowe or even, yes, we're saying it, John Hughes.

Stranded in his Valley lifestyle makes Matt much more sympathetic, more grounded. Grace knows these types of characters; he essentially played a similar nice guy during another decade in the long-running That '70s Show.

The stunner though is Palmer (I Am Number Four) as Tori. She's like a blonde Kristen Stewart minus the sullen thing and full of energy. She makes Tori a girl we can totally see falling for in high school and beyond.

All the female characters have been cast really well. Faris (The House Bunny) is comedy gold. Even Michelle Trachtenberg (Gossip Girl) has a nice scene-stealing moment as a goth chic with a fascination for chubby losers.

And all we'll say about the awesome finale is that it does involve a chase of sorts, but one that has much more momentum than typical comedies.

The 180—a Second Opinion: Dan Fogler (Fanboys) as Topher's main bud feels really out of place in a comedy set in the '80s. Fogler's manic energy has always channeled the crazed loser chic of the '00s, which is completely wrong for this kind of role.

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