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Published on March 4th, 2011 | by Genevieve Mc Bride

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Take Me Home Tonight

If you’re planning an 80’s party anytime soon, make sure to download the soundtrack to Take Me Home Tonight. The opening montage alone reminded me of everything I loved about the 80’s. It also gave us a glimpse of Matt Franklin’s high school years. Matt, played by Topher Grace, was the kid voted as “Smartest” in his class, one who existed on the outer fringes of high school popularity, who always had his eye on the most popular girl in school, Tori Fredreking, but could never muster up the courage or find that “in” to catch her attention.

Unsure of where his life is taking him, Matt decides to take a break from MIT during the summer of ’88 and ends up working at Suncoast Video. Of course, who should come strolling in to his store one day but Matt’s high school crush herself. Hoping to impress her, Matt ditches his Suncoast nametag, and tells Tori, played by Teresa Palmer (a deadringer for Kristen Stewart, if Kirsten were blond and more animated), that he works for Goldman-Sachs. Tori’s a banker herself, it turns out, and her curiousity is finally piqued and she encourages him to attend Kyle Masterson’s annual Labor Day party.

Matt relies on his twin sister Wendy, played by Anna Faris, and their best friend Barry, an intense Dan Fogler, to help him build on this “in” and finally get Tori’s phone number. But Matt isn’t the only one having to deal with the confusing transition into adulthood. Wendy has to decide if she wants to pursue her Masters or settle down with her boyfriend Kyle, while Barry just got fired from his car salesman job. The three of them decide to attend the end-of-summer party thrown by Wendy’s boyfriend Kyle, played by Parks & Rec’s Chris Pratt, all with the intent of “living in the now.” Apparently living in the now means commiting grand theft auto, experimenting with cocaine, perpetuating a lie and crashing a bankers’ party.

Despite the silly hijinks, Matt isn’t hard to root for, especially given Topher Grace’s signature sympathetic awkwardness. Fogler’s comic foil to Grace’s straight-man dances precariously along the line between funny and WTH? When the movie about Sam Kinnison’s life is ever made, Fogler should be given serious consideration.

There’s good chemistry between the cast and there’s just enough sweet romance to balance out the outrageous situations. Silly, predictable entertainment, made more fun by the nostalgic soundtrack, this movie is tamer than most of the R-rated comedies of recent note. Think any John Hughes movie meets Hot Tub Time Machine.

3.5 out of 5 stars


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