Total Pageviews

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Take Me Home Tonight (Release Date: 3-4-2011)

        I'm never sure exactly how much weight to place on originality. Sure, it's the stuff that classics are made of, and most pieces of art that establish themselves as people's favorites do so by blazing their own trail. But on the flip side of that, is there not also a lot to be said for following a plan to perfect execution? Is it not amazing to be previously exposed to something, and yet still find its reincarnation captivating? It's an important question to ask, especially in this context, as your liking of Take Me Home Tonight will be determined in large part by your valuation of marching to the beat of your own drum.

        If one were to put every John Hughes and Judd Apatow movie into a giant pot and boil them all together, there's little doubt that Take Me Home Tonight would be the eventual product. Set in the year 1988, the movie follows Matt Franklin (Topher Grace), a recent MIT grad whose chronic indecision on what to do with his life has resulted in once again living under his parents roof, and working at Suncoast Video. Franklin sees a glimmer of hope when he is visited at work by his High School crush, Tori Frederking (Teresa Palmer), and invited to a party later that night. What follows is the classic all-in-one-night, coming-of age narrative, obsessively observed down to the smallest rhythm and detail. To put it lightly, the flick belongs in the Unoriginal Hall of Fame, somewhere near the entrance.

        It's likely this level of unapologetic imitation led to the movie being shelved for as long as it was. Shot a whopping four years ago, the fact that Tonight is only just now making it to the big screen is quite the slight to the efforts of all involved, and while its certainly understandable, it's not entirely deserved. Wadding through the movie's swamp of cliches is an extremely likable cast, rounded out by a subtle Anna Farris as Matt's short-story writing sister, and Dan Fogler as his manic, over-weight best friend. The four are all slipping into roles embodied iconically by countless performers before them, and though their acting chops might not be worthy of the sleep-over mainstay status of their predecessors, they're all charming and easy to watch in just about every scene. Bolstered by tickling supporting performances from the likes of Chris Pratt, Michelle Trachtenberg, and Demetri Martin, any success that Tonight can claim to is thanks to its cast.

        Tonight is the kind of movie that defies criticism by virtue of establishing an identifiable target audience. The young people at the movie's center make jaded pop-culture references, some drugs are done, some sex is had, and the thing wreaks of yesteryear pinning. If you're a sucker for this sort of thing, which, admittedly, I am, then you might as well not listen to the haters. Sure, its glaringly familiar, and the script has a few lines that elicited mocking laughter even in my sparsely populated theater, but if this one sounds like your type of thing, then it is. You want gaudy 80's clothing and hair? You're in luck! You want a soundtrack full of unfairly forgotten 80's jams? This one's got just the thing! Looking to watch something that you've never seen before? Well, you're out of luck there... like, really, really out of luck. If an 80's nostalgia fix is what you need, this one is practically unmissable. All others should be advised to stay away.

Grade: C+

No comments:

Post a Comment