Take Me Home Tonight (US - DVD R1)
Jonathan hopes he can forget the movie when he hears the Eddie Money song..
When Matt Franklin’s (Topher Grace) high school crush shows up at his dead-end mall job, and he his buddy Barry (Dan Fogler) devise a wild scheme for Matt to finally win the girl of his dreams. But only time will tell if Matt can seduce this gorgeous goddess at a wild party and survive an outrageous night of seduction, destruction, and debauchery. (From the Fox synopsis)
There’s something about Take Me Home Tonight that doesn’t click. It has the attractive leading actors, chemistry between characters, the ultimate party setting, and all the enjoyable 80’s music hits you could ask for, but it just never feels right. It puts things from the 80’s in the movie, but these touches are strictly decorative. It never evokes the same spirit of the classic films it strive to be like. It feels very much like a modern teen comedy in 80’s clothes. And once that disguise becomes evident, it’s easy to see that this is just a formulaic flick. The story involves that same tired situation where a boy lies to a girl, then makes exhaustive efforts to maintain that lie, and eventually things unravel. I bet you can guess where it goes from there. I usually find these types of comedies a breeze to watch, and Take Me Home Tonight is no exception, but there is nothing here that makes me want to go back and watch it again.
Aside from the artificial 80’s feel and the fatigued storyline, the movie just isn’t very funny. Most of the comedy in the movie rests on the shoulders of Dan Fogler. I recall laughing at him a bit in older movies like Good Luck Chuck and even Balls of Fury, but he usually plays the same brash friend character, and I found myself exhausted by the routine this time around. I had no problem with the other cast members. Anna Faris shows more range than she usually does, starring opposite of her real-life husband Chris Pratt (from Parks and Recreation). This is the first movie I’ve seen that stars Teresa Palmer, and I thought her acting was kind of wooden, but not aggressively bad. Topher Grace, however, does a really good job here. I’ve known the guy can act (check out the overlooked In Good Company), but I wasn’t expecting this sort of depth in a standard issue teen comedy.
Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by Blu-ray lately, but this standard definition transfer from Fox doesn’t impress me much at all. It certainly isn’t awful, but there is a large amount of edge enhancement that causes haloing in nearly every frame, and gives the overall look an artificial graininess that isn’t very appealing. You can even see lines on the top and bottom of the image, just inside the black 16x9 matting. Curiously, the footage for the DVD menu does not have this problem, and looks a lot better. On the bright side, colours look good and black levels are about as good as the format allows. When viewed at its native resolution, the problems are much more minor, but when upscaled on a 1080p HDTV they will make for an eyesore.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track does its job much better than the video transfer. I found most of the music to be a bit uninspired, like somebody googled “80s hits” and made the soundtrack out of what they found, but the songs sounds good on this track in terms of audio quality. I would’ve liked to hear titular Eddie Money song at least once, but it is nowhere to be found in the feature film. I didn’t notice any distinguishable directional effects or much activity in the rear channels aside from ambient noise and some cheering crowds. Most of the audio here sticks to the front speakers. There’s a fun set piece involving a giant metal ball rolling down a street towards the end of the movie, and the LFE channel gets plenty of attention during it. It’s not an incredibly dynamic mix overall, but it gets the job done without any apparent issues.
Aside from some TV Spots and a Theatrical trailer, we have seven deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes talk with cast members, a music sampling featurette, and a music video from the band Atomic Tom.
Deleted Scenes (11:00): There are seven of them in total. Personally I would’ve liked to see some of these in the film. There’s a scene with Topher Grace and Anna Faris talking in the car where they showed great chemistry as siblings. Another deleted scene I would’ve liked to see kept is Fogler’s character getting fired by his boss, who is played by the hilarious Bob Odenkirk. We only get to see him make a couple faces in the final cut of the movie. There are also some outtakes with Demitri Martin. The others are fairly disposable, but fans might get a kick out of them.
Cast Get Together (08:12): is a short and somewhat enjoyable segment where the cast members talk about the movie. There is also some footage from casting auditions and them goofing around on set.
Music Jukebox is a neat little feature that lets you select and play music tracks from the movie.
Take Me Home Tonight Music Video (03:55): This one has a very misleading title. I was crossing my fingers for the Eddie Money video, but this is a song from Atomic Tom. The music video has the cast members imitating countless classic films, from Blues Brothers to Weird Science. I didn’t get much out of it, but it looks like they had a lot of fun making it.
Take Me Home Tonight is a formulaic modern comedy with an 80s guise. The cast is enjoyable to watch, but their efforts aren’t enough to keep a tired plot and an uninspired script afloat. This DVD from Fox features a video transfer with unfortunate edge enhancement problems and a few disposable extra features, but the audio track is solid.
Review by Jonathan Hogberg
Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian
Release Date: 19th July 2011
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Extras: Deleted Scenes, Cast Get-Together, Music Boom Box, "Take Me Home Tonight" Music Video
Easter Egg: No
Director: Michael Dowse
Cast: Topher Grace, Anna Faris, Dan Fogler, Teresa Palmer, Chris Pratt
Genre: Comedy and Drama
Length: 97 minutes
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