August 4, 2011


Take Me Home Tonight wasn’t so much released in 2011, it was put out of its misery in 2011. Tonight was made in 2007, when Topher Grace was coming off of Spider-Man 3, and when Dan Fogler was supposed to break into the mainstream. Fogler hasn’t yet, but both female leads Anna Farris and Teresa Palmer are still working (this could have been a good year for Palmer if I am Number Four was any good). They all star in an 80’s-set comedy where in one night they party together, and try to figure out their lives. Our review of the Take Me Home Tonight Blu-ray is after the jump.

When a film sits around in a can for a long time, it is rarely a good thing (though Kenneth Lonergan’s long-gestating Margaret may prove the exception), and this film sat around so long that it’s been released by Fox on DVD. You can tell it was originally meant to be Universal’s film, because the film opens with Topher Grace’s character Matt Franklin working at a Suncoast loaded with posters and videos of Universal films. You can also tell there were some reshoots and edits, because Lucy Punch (having a better 2011 by playing the bad/good guy in Bad Teacher) seems to be playing Topher Grace’s girlfriend, but what her role is exactly is left on the editing floor, and Bob Odenkirk shows his face but has no lines in the finished cut. You can also tell that the film changed titles (originally it was called Kids in America), because nowhere in the film do they use the song “Take Me Home Tonight” nor really does anyone get taken home (the only sex in the film is in bathrooms or on trampolines).

Take-Me-Home-Tonight-posterYou can also tell why the film sat in a can for a while: It’s trying to be something but misses. It’s genial, relatively amusing, but it takes a while (frankly, a little too long) to find its groove, and once it gets there it seems to want to trade on nostalgia for period and the genre conceits more than anything all that original. It makes a film like Can’t Hardly Wait look a little better by comparison, in that backward homage to American Graffiti sort of way. Topher Grace is Anna Farris’s twin brother, and she’s thinking about going to Cambridge, while also dating the not-that-bright Kyle Masterson (Chris Pratt). Grace’s got an engineering degree, is a master of math, but currently works at Suncoast. He often talks about Tori Frederking (Teresa Palmer), who he never had the courage to talk to in high school. She turns out to be a reasonable human being, which is nice for him. As Farris’s Wendy wrestles with a marriage proposal and leaves the film for a good chunk of its running time, Dan Fogler’s Barry starts the film getting fired from his job as a BMW salesman and that night steals a car from the lot and finds it’s got a bag of cocaine in it. So he spends a good chunk of the movie high.

This was supposedly the reason why the movie was in the can, and I guess that’s good enough to keep the film out of sight, but it’s just not a very good movie period, so the reticence is understandable. But Take Me Home Tonight, perhaps out of some form of Stockholm syndrome, gets better as it goes, and there’s a great scene where Grace gets to pull something out of his ass in front of Michael Ian Black that briefly brings the movie to life, and Demetri Martin gets to kill as an asshole in a wheelchair. There are things to like, but “Eh.”

The Blu-ray comes in widescreen (2.35:1) and in DTS 5.1 HD. Even if the film sat in a can for a while, it’s still going to be a fresh transfer, and the film looks great. The Blu-ray also comes with a digital copy. Extras include seven deleted scenes (11 min.), a cast get-together with Fogler, Farris, Pratt, Grace and Palmer (8 min.), a music boom box – which goes to the songs used in the movie. There’s also a music video for the film that’s labeled “Take Me Home Tonight Music Video” whereas the song is “Don’t You Want Me” and has the cast featured heavily. The film’s trailer and two TV spots are also included. The menu has the decency to include the Eddie Money song the title comes from.

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