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Take Me Home Tonight (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

July 14, 2011 by  



“Take Me Home Tonight” will no doubt attract those interested in the ’80s through its music but the film’s overall plot is formulaic,  predictable and fails to generate any excitement.

Images courtesy of ©2011 American  Kids, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Take Me Home Tonight

FILM RELEASE DATE: 2011

DURATION: 97 minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (widescreen 2:40:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French

RATED: R (Language, Sexual Content and Drug Use)

COMPANY: Twentieth Century Fox

RELEASE DATE: July 19, 2011

Directed by Michael Dowse

Screenplay by Jackie Filgo, Jeff Filgo

Story by Topher Grace, Gordon Kaywin

Executive Produced by Sarah Bowen, Topher Grace, Gordon Kaywin, James Whitaker, Dany Wolf

Muisc by Trevor Horn

Cinematography by Terry Stacey

Edited by Lee Haxall

Casting by Joanna Colbert, Richard Mento

Production Design by Elliott Glick

Set Decoration by David Smith, Donna Stamps

Costume Design by Carol Oditz

Starring:

Topher Grace as Matt Franklin

Anna Faris as Wendy Franklin

Dan Fogler as Barry Nathan

Teresa Palmer as Tori Frederking

Chris Pratt as Kyle Masterson

Michael Biehn as Bill Franklin

Lucy Punch as Shelly

Michelle Trachtenberg as Ashley

Angie Everhart as Trish Anderson

Experience this generation’s most outrageous comedy when TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT comes home on Blu-ray and DVD July 19th from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. With exciting special features including deleted scenes, music videos and more, re-live all the hilarious hijinks when the party movie of the summer arrives July 19th on Blu-ray and DVD.

TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT follows three friends on the verge of adulthood who attend an out-of-control party in celebration of their last night of unbridled youth. Starring Topher Grace (“That 70’s Show,” Predators), Anna Faris (The House Bunny), Dan Fogler (Balls of Fury) and Teresa Palmer (I Am Number Four), TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT is a raunchy, romantic, ridiculous and raucous ride set to an awesome soundtrack of timeless rock and hiphop hits.

Filmmaker Michael Dowse maybe known for his films based on movie and beer and his FUBAR films have a big following in Canada and when you get opportunities to try some big, you go for it!

Dowse went on to create the British film “It’s All Gone Pete Tong” and in the U.S., the filmmaker got his opportunity to direct his first feature film “Take Me Home Tonight”, a retro ’80s comedy film starring Topher Grace (“That ’70’s Show”, “Spider-Man 3”, “Predators”), Anna Faris (“Lost in Translation”, “House Bunny”, “Scary Movie” films), Dan Fogler (“Balls of Fury”, “Kung Fu Panda”, “Fanboys”), “Teresa Palmer” (“I Am Number Four”, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”) and Chris Pratt (“Jennifer’s Body”, “Bride Wars”, “Wanted”).  The film would also benefit by its screenplay by Jackie and Jeff Filgo, known for their writing on TV shows such as “That ’70s Show”, “Hank” and “New Adventures of Old Christine” and the film “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”.

Executive produced by Topher Grace, sex, drugs and rock n’ roll is nothing new to the actor who pretty much did just that for “That ’70s Show”, but this time around, “Take Me Home Tonight” takes place in 1988 and a film bundled with popular ’80s songs which include “Hungry Like the Wolf” by Duran Duran, “Straight Outta Compton” by NWA, “Everybody Have Fun Tonight” by Wang Chung, “Come on Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners.

But the film has had its challenges.  While completed in 2007, the film was shelved by Universal Studios and it took four years for it to be released in theaters.  Topher Grace said that the delay was due to the studio not knowing how to handle and promote a youth comedy film with portrayal of cocaine use.

The film was eventually acquired by Relativity Media (subsidiary to Rogue) and released in theaters by Twentieth Century Fox in spring 2011.

“Take Me Home Tonight” takes place in 1988 and focuses on Matt Franklin (played by Topher Grace), a young man who excelled in school, excellent with numbers, graduated from MIT but is unsure what he wants to do with his life, he takes a job working at Suncoast Video with his twin sister Wendy (played by Anna Faris) and his best friend Barry Nathan (played by Dan Fogler).

One day, while working at the shop, he runs into an old schoolmate who has started his own business and shocks his schoolmate when he tells him that he didn’t work for a major company but is working at Suncoast Video.  When he sees his high school crush, Tori Fredreking (played by Teresa Palmer) come in to the store, Matt takes off his uniform and tries to pretend that he is shopping at the store.

Both talk and Tori talks about how she works for an investment company and when she asks him where he works, he lies and tells her that he works at Goldman Sachs.  Tori asks if he is going to Kyle Masterson’s (played by Chris Pratt) party and since his sister Wendy dates Kyle, Matt decides to go to the party (even though he doesn’t like Kyle).

Meanwhile, Matt’s friend Barry has lost his other job (Working at a car lot) and in his drunken stupor, wants to get back at his boss by by stealing one of the nicer cars on the lot.

As Matt and Barry drive to the party, they discover that the car has cocaine inside the glove compartment. Matt tries to prevent his friend from taking the drugs but since Barry is depressed, Barry takes the drugs along with him.

While at the party, Matt tries to get close to Teresa, continuing his lie that he works at Goldman Sachs.  Meanwhile, Barry is drunk and now under the influence of cocaine and behaving crazily at the party.  Meanwhile, for Wendy, who has big dreams of going to a great college, she is suddenly shocked when her boyfriend Kyle proposes to her in front of everyone.  Matt is disappointing because she has a lot going for herself and worries that if she stays with Kyle, she would be nothing but a housewife.

With Matt now trying to get close with Tori by lying, Barry trying to hide his depression by being drunk and on drugs and Wendy not knowing if she will pursue a life of marriage or education, this night will change the lives of these individuals from that day forward.

“Take Me Home Tonight” also stars Michael Biehn (“Terminator”, “Aliens”, “The Rock”), Michelle Trachtenberg (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “Euro Trip”, “Gossip Girl”), Lucy Punch (“Bad Teacher”, “Dinner for Schmucks”, “Hot Fuzz”),  mode/actress Angie Everhart and reality TV star Audrina Patridge.

VIDEO:

“Take Me Home Tonight” is presented in 1080p High Definition (widescreen 2:40:1).  Picture quality for the film is good but the majority of the film does take place during the night.  Skintones are natural and there is good detail as you can see the closeup of the ’80s style clothing, the sweat (and that white powdery substance) on Dan Fogler’s face.  I didn’t notice any artifacts or banding, black levels are nice and deep and for the most part, picture quality is good.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Take Me Home Tonight” is a dialogue and music-driven film presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio.  While dialogue is crystal clear, the emphasis is the film’s use of ’80s music and in that sense, the music comes off quite clear via lossless.

While the film does have it share of crowd ambiance during the two party sequences and also various crashing sequences, the film is pretty much dominated by dialogue and music.

Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Take Me Home Tonight” comes with the following special features:

  • Deleted Scenes – (11:00) Seven deleted scenes
  • Cast Get Together – (8:12) Topher Grace, Teresa Palmer, Anna Faris, Dan Fogler and Chris Pratt reunite to talk about their experience working on the film.
  • Music Boombox – Featuring factoids on the various bands that performed the popular ’80s music in the film.  You can select the scene of when the music is being played in the film.
  • Take Me Home Tonight Music Video – (3:57) No, this is not the Eddie Money music video but Atomic Punk’s cover of Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me” and featuring the cast of “Take Me Home Tonight” spoofing ’80s films.
  • Theatrical Trailer – (2:28) The original theatrical trailer.
  • TV Spots  – (1:03) Two TV spots for the film.
EXTRAS:
“Take Me Home Tonight” comes with a digital copy of the film.

Sex…alcohol…drugs, there was something about ’80s films that made things feel right.

Where ’70s drive-in films were expected to be full of sexy, bad dialogue and excessive camp and violence, ’80s films began to drop the hardcore violence and focused more on horny teenagers, crazy antics and nudity.  Sure, the ’80s films had a sense of campiness but at least they were able to maintain that sense of underdog gets the hot girl banal storyline and-reuse it and still making it fresh and fun!

From “Porky’s”, “Private School”, “Better Off Dead”, “Animal House”, “Zapped”, “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” to the “Revenge of the Nerds” films, there were so many of these films that were hilarious, fun and you couldn’t stop watching them over and over.

And then you had films that dealt with sex, alcohol and drugs…coming-of-age films with substance such as “St. Elmo’s Fire”, “Pretty in Pink” and “Say Anything” that featured crazy partying, drama, sex, etc. Films that were just right for the ’80s. Films that were exciting, fun but yet had music that were part of pop culture.

As a child of the ’70s and a teenager of the ’80s, I have had my opportunities to grow up and experience a lot of the ’80s teen party or coming-of-age type of films.

So, when I saw the commercials of “Take Me Home Tonight”, I was very excited because I saw how Topher Grace was on “That ’70s Show” and knowing that the writers behind the show were involved with this film, how can it fail?  Right?

And the fact that it stars two stars known for their crazy comedy – Anna Faris and Dan Fogler, you just don’t know what to expect.  Also, it was cool to know that Teresa Palmer, Michael Biehn, Lucy Punch and Michelle Trachtenberg were in the film.

But unfortunately, the screenplay by Jackie and Jeff Filgo just fell flat on its face.  And it’s a shame because the Filgo’s know how to do comedy, unfortunately the execution of the comedy and the ’80s storyline didn’t seem right.  The film felt forced and it tried to go for quick laughs using Dan Fogler to fill in the role that is reminiscent of Jack Black and Jonah Hill.  A wannabe Apatow-like film for the late ’80s.

And while I’m up for that kind of humor…I was a bit disappointed about how this film turned out and I’m not alone as film critics also panned the film.

For one thing, by the late ’80s, none of us growing up in high school were listening to early ’80s music.  Duran Duran, Dixie’s Midnight Runners, Human League, The Buggles were replaced by the Guns n Roses, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, R.E.M., Debbie Gibson, UB40, INXS, George Michael, Expose, The Jets, Ton Loc, Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince,  Bobby Brown, New Kids on the Block and Whitney Houston.  The late 80’s was a different beast…   Viewers grew up with MTV for music videos, ’90s and people today grow up with MTV for reality TV.

So, people have to realize that in the ’80s, we were watching what was popular on MTV and in the late ’80s, especially 1988, we were not listening to Duran Duran, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Human League, The Buggles…  By 1988, we were partying to Robert Palmer’s “Simply Irresistible”, UB40’s “Red Red Wine”, Beach Boys “Kokomo” or Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry Be Happy”, INXS “Need You Tonight”, George Michael’s “Faith”, Billy Ocean’s “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car” and yes, even that song “Never Gonna Give You Up”, Rick Astley’s popular song now for rickrolling.

So, trying to emulate an ’80s film from 1988 and have the music wrong is just bad!

Second, to emulate an ’80s film.  You need to have the look.  While music used was early ’80s, I felt that the clothes were more early ’90s.  Some parts such as hairstyle seemed right but the look and the feel of the characters were out of the element.

And I know, younger people who did not grow up in the ’80s, let alone the ’90s, could care less about the music and everything is grouped together as part of the ’80s.

OK, so for now, I’ll let the music and fashion slide and focus on the overall plot.  Can this film be any formulaic?  Guy meets girl he loved in high school, guy goes to party with girl, guy gets closer to girl and it all seems peachy keen for Topher Grace’s character but I felt the story’s subplot, involving Matt’s sister, played by Anna Faris was thrown in to the story and the actress, was not well-utilized.   Dan Fogler was playing a similar role of the crazy and weird best friend but it seemed as if the writers were trying to come up with weird situations that were not funny at all.   And as much as I enjoy watching Teresa Palmer, I felt that I was watching this film for more Teresa Palmer and her beauty than her involvement in the film as an actress.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture and audio quality were very good and you do get a digital copy of the film and as for the special features, you do get deleted scenes, a reunion of the cast (remember that this film was completed back in 2007 and shelved for a few years until its release in 2011), the music boom box for those interested in the music of the film and more.

Overall, “Take Me Home Tonight” was OK.  The film’s humor and its story just falls flat and the screenplay was too formulaic, predictable and not funny.  If you want a cool film about the underdog going after the girl, kids drinking and having fun, partying and characters that were well-utilized plus a film with an awesome soundtrack…check out the 1989 film “Say Anything” which is an awesome ’80s film that gets it right!






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