Take Me Home Tonight (UK - DVD R2)
Marcus takes an unconvincing trip back to the 80s in this new dramedy on DVD
When Matt Franklin’s (Topher Grace) high school crush shows up at his dead-end mall job, he and 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.
Take Me Home Tonight is set in the 80s and when I say 80s it’s like the entire decade all at once. As an example the record store the movie opens in has the music new releases on display. Madonna – Like a Virgin, Michael Jackson - Bad, Eurhythmics - Touch, Guns and Roses - Appetite for Destruction and a poster for the release of CD discs all of which were not in the same year and sort of gives an insight into the approach to this movie. The celebration of all that is the 80s is overkill and for the most part the period setting isn’t all that important to the pretty standard ‘boy thinks he wants one thing but actually realises he wants something else all together’ plot.
Now I could sit back and diss the bog standardness of the whole affair but I can’t. I’ll admit it, I have a soft spot for this sort of thing. From Risky Business to The Girl Next Door, Empire Records to Adventureland, there’s a whole world of good and bad ways to do the same story from indie drama to full on comedy and Take Me Home Tonight excels in none of the possible areas but it does manage to tick all the right boxes none the less and once again I found myself watching these characters go through the motions we all know so well and still enjoying myself.
Cast-wise, I like Topher Grace. I can’t tell you why because his sleazy persona that’s always the same in every role feels like it should annoy me, but it doesn’t and he carries the weight of the movie with ease. Dan Fogler is another guy I don’t want to like but have done in most of his movies. Anna Farris is good in everything no matter how under used she is (and she really is under used here) and having Michael Biehn in a movie on any capacity is enough to put a smile on my face even if I do spend the whole of his screen time wishing he’d do better movies.
Take Me Home Tonight turns out to be an okay movie. It actually winds up feeling a lot like the 80s movies its aiming to celebrate (but then the simple plot was born in the 80s so it’s not all that difficult) and I’m not afraid to admit that if I happened upon this movie on a Friday or Saturday night I’d be in for the duration all over again. It’s not big, it’s not clever but that doesn’t stop it being an enjoyable way to spend ninety-odd minutes.
The transfer here is a grainy overcooked wash of bright 80s colours that feels a little too dark in places and has that weird orange glow that a lot of studio comedies have of late that makes the HD presentation glow but the DVD presentation look a tad drab and grimy.
Details are washy due to the softness and skin tones are overcooked and despite the 80s visuals this still feels distinctly like a modern movie due to the lighting and colouring, so you can’t even write off the disappointing presentation to trying to be nostalgic.
This Dolby Digital 5.1 track is pretty repetitive. Dialogue, which is strong and central and then there’s a sudden burst of VH1 favourites that sounds full and punchy in the mix. Beyond that there’s the odd bit of score that sits just below the dialogue level to add a touch of drama to scenes and the track gets a bit of life thrown into it with the giant ball scene at the end of the movie. It’s all pretty straightforward in the audio department but it’s all the movie really requires to be honest, so theres not all that much to get disappointed about.
The disc opens with an ad for Universal Blu-ray, Adjustment Bureau and Hop. There are absolutely no extras for the movie. Bummer.
Take Me Home Tonight is a simple plot revolving around a boy going out of his way to impress a girl but coming to the conclusion he should just be himself for results - and it just so happens to be set in the 80s. There are other well trodden elements to fill out the story but if you’re like me and have a soft spot for this overdone tale then this movie should satisfy your needs without exceeding your expectations. Disc-wise, the A/V is below par and the total lack of extras is a kick in the teeth so rounding up, if this was 1987 and this was a VHS release it’d be fine but because it’s not either of those things it’s just another weak DVD release.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 12th September 2011
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Digital 5.1 French
Subtitles: English, Danish, French, Norwegian, Finnish, Swedish
Easter Egg: No
Director: Michael Dowse
Cast: Topher Grace, Anna Faris, Dan Fogler, Teresa Palmer, Chris Pratt
Genre: Comedy and Drama
Length: 93 minutes
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