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Sunday, March 06, 2011

Movies: TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT

Thoughts on Films
Movie Review




Matt Franklin (Topher Grace) is a recent MIT grad wasting his education at a video store in the mall. He has no direction and no ambition, his hardworking police officer father is disappointed in him, yet his biggest regret in life is, of course, not asking out his dream-girl in high school. This is the impetus of Take Me Home Tonight, a movie whose premise could best be described as “beaten like a dead horse.”

All the familiar characters are present: the chubby spastic sidekick, Barry, (Dan Fogler), the playfully challenging sibling, Wendy, (Anna Faris), and the too-perfect-to-be-true crush, Tori. (Teresa Palmer). The only element missing is the jerky, frat boy rival. That stereotype is vaguely represented by Wendy’s boyfriend, Kyle, (Chris Pratt), but he hardly serves as a nemesis for our protagonist.


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This is your typical “likeable smart guy who loves the homecoming queen and is sure she would love him, if only he had the chance to get to know her.” Naturally, Matt hatches a plan to get into Tori’s good graces, even though she’s very approachable when he runs into her in the video store, and tells a little white lie. (Everyone who knows that the little white lie is going to come back and bite Matt in the ass, raise your hand.) Matt’s big indiscretion? He tells Tori that, just like her, he’s a banker. She’s impressed and invites him to a party where everyone from high school will be.

In the span of a few hours, Matt turns on the boyish charm, impresses her with some math and beds his unattainable crush on a stranger’s trampoline. It all comes way too easy. But remember that little, white lie? During post-coitus cuddling, Matt reveals that he’s not a banker, but an MIT grad who works at a video store. Judging by Tori’s reaction, you would think he confessed to being a guard at Auschwitz. But fear not for our hero, we already know that he will win her back. The hero always wins her back. He just has to redeem himself by facing his fears and becoming a better person. And what is this great task of redemption that will give his life meaning? He rolls down a hill in a big metal ball.

That’s right, the MIT grad wins the respect of the beautiful banker by rolling down a hill in a big metal ball.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some humorous moments, mostly provided by Fogler, and the actors are all likeable enough as the stock characters they portray, but it’s hardly enough to overcome the film’s well-tread shortcomings. Take Me Home Tonight should probably just be taken home as a DVD rental.


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