Take Me Home Tonight movie review

Posted on 21 February 2011
By Miv Evans
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This is a coming of age story where no one actually comes of age, but this doesn’t matter at all because, unlike most comedies, it’s actually funny.

There are no classic one-liners but plenty of belly laughs with a droll message that while growing older might be mandatory, growing up is not, and waiting for your luck to change beats boring old adulthood any day.

Matt Franklyn (Topher Grace) has recently graduated from university with an engineering degree but, instead of taking the first step on the corporate ladder, opts for a job behind the counter at his local video store.

His lack of direction frustrates his parents who put him under a lot of pressure to start making some decisions, but Matt shrugs off their concerns and continues in his own sweet way.

His passions, however, are awoken when one Tori Frederking (Teresa Palmer) walks into his store.

She was his high school crush and he decides he’s going to take a shot at dating the girl of his dreams; so he finds a goal, but not quite the one his parents were hoping for.

This film has a lot of pace and everyone does justice to the witty lines the writers crafted so well.

Matt also has a great rapport with his best buddy, Barry (Dan Fogler), who’s a typical buffoon but he’s also street-smart and thus a stereotype is avoided.

There’s a lot of chemistry between Matt and Tori but, unfortunately, this evaporates when the story tries to mine depths that just aren’t there which results in a contrived lover’s tiff that sends the story into melodrama.

It’s a brief detour and everything gets swiftly back on track, so damage is minimal.

Right at the beginning of the film a big deal is made about Matt having a twin sister (Anna Faris), but there is never any pay off for this and her clichéd relationship with her boyfriend contributes nothing to the story.

Conversely, the vibrant scenes with Matt’s father (Michael Beihn), bring perspective to Matt’s shortcomings, made all the more entertaining by Beihn’s twisted sense of humor.

He also delivers the most insightful line of the movie when he tells Matt he really should get out there and have a go at something, even if it’s only to hear the sound of the starting gun for the first time.

So why does this independent film succeed, when so many studio comedies fail?

It’s not a unique idea by any means, but it’s the execution of the idea that makes it work, to which full credit goes to the writers, of course, but also to the novice producers.

They apparently rejected all the established screenplay writers who wanted the gig and opted for two TV Sitcom scribes who, surprise, surprise, knew all about writing funny lines, and then, even more surprisingly, proceeded to write a funny comedy script.

Hollywood – what is so hard?

Produced by Topher Grace & Gordon Kaywin
Written by Jackie & Jeff Filgow, writers of the hit US Sitcom “That 70s Show”
Directed by Michael Dowse

USA 4 March, 2011
UK 13 May, 2011