“Take Me Home Tonight” operates on the basis that we still give a squat about the eighties and thanks to the financial failure that was this film in early 2011, it’s great to hear America isn’t budging in their resounding boredom with the decade. This was only further remedied by “MacGruber” and its eighties crapola that touted the same sentiment “Take Me Home Tonight” does. Director Michael Dowse’s film doesn’t so much want to be a coming of age film from the eighties so much as it wants to be an eighties film. It takes every chance to define itself as the decade love letter that it almost convinces itself that it’s a movie ripped from that decade.
There’s no other reason for the eighties motif except to pander to the demographic who refuses to grow up and let go of a decade that was past its prime in around 1986. Meanwhile much of the story feels like throwaway jokes from the cutting room floor that fall about as flat as Dan Fogler’s comedy. When a film relies on Anna Faris and Dan Fogler to get its lame hackneyed sense of humor past audiences, you know the director is so anxiously relying on a point of no return. Dowse’s film is so formula that it is aimlessly predictable, borrowing from the likes of “American Graffiti” and “Dazed and Confused.”
It so anxiously wants to be that film about that one night of a group of individuals lives that means everything when they look forward. The problem is that “Take Me Home Tonight” has neither the dramatic capability nor attitude to get us through this sentiment, so most of it is played for laughs without the slightest inch of emotional turmoil coming through. I cared for none of these characters, and no ounce of great eighties soundtracks spewing over the speakers could convince me to even remotely give this a flying shot. Star Topher Grace can’t even work out of his comfort zone to play this weasly loser still hinging on memories from his youth of seven minutes in heaven.
The actor merely channels Eric Foreman from “That Seventies Show,” almost as if this is a less mature more aged individual who has yet to successfully move on with his life. Grace’s performance is lacking in enthusiasm and charisma and he makes “Take Me Home Tonight” all the more forgettable with its break dancing segments and endless streaming of random eighties music junk that the director attaches to scenes without any recognition of importance to the moment. “Take Me Home Tonight” is a giant missed opportunity to be anything other than mere eighties junk meant to arouse the demographic still clinging to their golden days and nothing more.