Plot: What’s it about?
As someone who not only remembers the films of the 80’s, but was in the audiences of many of them, I find it somewhat odd to see “retro” films of this decade gone by. I do also find it a bit odd that an entire decade can so aptly summed up by a few things. Throw in some neon colors, a popped collar, a Rubik’s cube and a Pac-Man machine and, boom, you’ve got yourself an 80’s movie. This seemed to be about the same amount of thought that went into “Take Me Home Tonight”, a throwback to the films of the 80’s with neither the heart nor soul of one. The title of the movie itself is taken from the title of Eddie “The Moneyman” Money’s 1986 hit by the same name. Ironically, that music only plays during the title screen of this Blu-ray. Before I start nitpicking this movie, I will say that it did have a few laugh out loud moments (the key word there being “few”). Sex, drugs and rock n’ roll? It’s all par for the course in an 80’s movie.
Matt (Topher Grace) is a smart cookie. He was your typical nerd in high school always pining for the girl of his dreams who didn’t even know he existed. Matt went to and graduated from M.I.T. though he now works in a Suncoast Motion Picture Company (video store) in the local mall. As fate would have it, Tori Frederking (Teresa Palmer) aka “the girl of his dreams” walks into the store looking for a movie. Matt pretends to be a customer, tells her he works at Goldman Sachs and gets himself invited to a party. Matt’s friend, Barry (Dan Fogler) has just been fired from his job as a car salesman. The stage is set. Matt, Barry and Matt’s twin sister (Anna Faris) head to the party, but not before they stop at Barry’s ex-place of employment where they steal a Mercedes. As expected, there’s drugs and plenty of booze at the party and Matt does get a bit closer to Tori. Of course, a series of events happen that will forever change his perception on life and it’s this one night that will act as a reminder for him to finally grow up.
As I said, “Take Me Home Tonight” does have a few funny moments, scene-stealer Carolos (Demetri Martin) has the movie’s funniest lines and it’s a shame he was underused. There were a few things that, to me, just didn’t make sense. First of all, why is this set in the 80’s? The economy is far worse now than it was then, why not set it in present day? Second, the two leads are about a dozen years older in real life than their characters were (Grace is 33 and Faris 36). Lastly, the whole thing just felt contrived. Evidently this film sat on a studio shelf for a couple years and I can now see why. If you’re looking for a movie of this nature why not try “License to Drive”, “Real Genius”, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” or “Less Than Zero” (If you’re feeling particularly bleak). I’d say head to Suncoast and pick one of these up, but it seems they’re all but extinct.
Video: How does it look?
The movie is shown in a rather good-looking 2.40:1 AVC HD transfer. One thing that I will say is that this movie does look a lot better than those that were actually made in the 80’s. Seeing as how the entire film takes place over the course of one day, the majority of it is at night and/or indoors. Detail is very good, and you can see every white spec in Matt’s jacket (sleeves rolled up, of course). Fleshtones seem pretty natural and though some of the actors are wearing a little more hairspray than the others, it’s indicative of what we might expect. There’s a bit of grain in some of the indoor scenes which I think could have been eliminated, but unless they were intentionally going for that “retro” look, then it’s a fault of the transfer.
Audio: How does it sound?
I think I was more let down by the audio. Having just recently re-watched “Hot Tub Time Machine”, a new movie with a similar and better outtake on the whole retro thing, I compared the two. No doubt there’s a smattering of essential 80’s songs sprinkled throughout. What really got me is that we barely hear them in the background. These are classics like “Come on Eileen”, “Safety Dance” and, for whatever reason, “Straight Outta Compton”. These seem somewhat dull and muted, though dialogue was fairly strong throughout. It’s a passable soundtrack, but nothing that really blew me away.
Supplements: What are the extras?
There aren’t a lot of supplements here save for the obligatory deleted scenes a “music boombox” feature and a short cast and crew featurette. Now there is a “Take Me Home Tonight” music video, but it’s not for the title song, it’s for Atomic Tom’s new cover of “Don’t You Want Me.” Yeah, I don’t get it, either. Lastly we get a DVD and Digital copy of the film as well as the original TV spots and trailer.