An early contender for the worst movie of 2011 is the Topher Grace comedy “Take Me Home Tonight.” Set in the 1980’s, the story successfully celebrates the music of that decade but fails in almost every other regard. Unfunny and without even the inkling of a decent story, “Take Me Home Tonight” is inane and completely lifeless.
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The story revolves around Matt Franklin (Topher Grace), an MIT graduate with few ambitions in life. Despite his parent’s unhappiness, he works at Suncoast Video while trying to figure out what he wants do with his life. Early on, he’s invited to a party with some of the people he went to high school with. Joined by his loser best friend Barry (Dan Fogler) and his naïve sister Wendy (Anna Faris), Matt attends the party hoping that he’ll finally be able to tell his high school crush Tori Frederking (Theresa Palmer) that he’s in love with her.
To prepare for the celebration, Matt watches as Barry steals a car from a local dealership. For a MIT graduate and someone who is “supposed” to be smart, Matt idiotically accepts a ride in the stolen car. The duo only make more inane decisions when they find cocaine in the car. Stealing the car and taking cocaine are both played for laughs in the story but none of these scenes are actually funny.
There’s little fun or humor in this entire story. At the party, some of the adults get their kicks daring people to ride a giant “ball” down a hill. The “ball,” which looks like a bowling bowl fit for an adult to ride in, is really exciting to them. I’m not sure how many adults would get so excited about people rolling down a hill in a ball but I know one thing: I wouldn’t want to spend a lot of time with any of them.
The “ball” itself isn’t the biggest problem with this story. The problem is that none of the characters are worth believing in. Matt’s friend is a loser and Matt, while likable, is whiny and depressing. He doesn’t know what he wants in life so all he focuses on is getting a date with a girl he liked in high school.
Another problem that the story faces is the maturity of its characters. If you miss the scenes of them talking about going to college, viewers will likely think that these characters are high school students, not college graduates. Few of them have moved on from high school. Matt still has a high school crush that he obsesses over. The jocks are still obsessed with people riding the “ball.” One would think that college would allow these individuals to grow and mature. These characters didn’t do either. They’re teenagers in the bodies of adults living like adolescents.
If viewers are looking for a recent funny movie about life after college, I would recommend 2009’s “Post Grad” starring Alexis Bledel. Unlike “Take Me Home Tonight,” the characters in that story are likable and the film has some funny moments. The best and only worthwhile moment of “Take Me Home Tonight” is in the credits: an actor is credited as playing “that loser who always shows up at the party with a guitar.”
That moment made me smile but if that’s the best part of a movie, it isn’t worth leaving home for.