Take Me Home Tonight
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Matt Franklin is, like, totally a dweeb.
The former mathlete, who won the attendance award every year in high school, is now an MIT grad. But is he a scientist? An engineer? A high-tech entrepreneur? Even a big-bank bean counter? Negatory. Matt Franklin works at a video store and lives with his parents. While former high school classmates flaunt prestigious jobs and experiences, Matt looks on wistfully.
So when Tori, his life-long crush, shows up wielding her investment banker creds, there's only one thing Matt can do: lie. He tells her he's a hotshot at Goldman Sachs. And when the rest of the class of 1984 gets together to carouse, smoke pot and carelessly destroy property once again, just like the good ol' days, Matt the "banker" is there with bells on—to hit on Tori.
Yes, this movie really is a dumb as it sounds.
"Helping" him (read: aiding and abetting) are his twin sister, Wendy, her doofus boyfriend, Kyle, and Matt's best bungling bud, Barry. And after a night full of felonies and fistfights—and cocaine, senseless dares and even more senseless sex—director Michael Dowse would have us believe that these characters actually learned something in the process. Worse, he wants us to think that we have, too.
Wendy and Matt may hurl obscenities at each other, but they clearly do it to show their affection. Matt encourages his sister to go to graduate school and fulfill her dreams rather than play a supporting role in Kyle's nowhere life. Wendy finally takes his advice.
Lip service at least is paid to making something of yourself and not giving up before you even try. Matt eventually confesses his lies.
Barry and Wendy rush to help Matt after he almost dies in a (weird) crash. Sticking up for Tori, Matt deflects the perverted advances of her boss.
Barry and a "cougar" old enough to be his mother do coke together and become amorous. She fully exposes her breasts, which he gropes. And she performs oral sex on him and initiates intercourse—while her even older male friend lustfully watches. Barry is repulsed by the man's presence, but not so much that he halts the activities … until the woman begins hitting him. After Barry flees, it's implied that the woman and her friend couple as well.
Barry and another girl also start to have sex before the night is over. Tori strips off her shirt, then her bra for Matt before the two have sex offscreen. Girls at a party offer themselves to strangers and are seen—somewhat clothed—engaged in various sexual activities. Masturbation, manual stimulation and oral sex are frequently and crudely referenced. Closeted homosexuals are a running joke. Kyle and Wendy repeatedly tell friends about how they were caught having sex (in the pool) by his grandmother.
Barry and another guy at the party grab their crotches while dancing. Lewd rap lyrics explicitly objectify women. Matt and Tori yell "penis" at each other as part of a game.
An angry fistfight breaks out among partygoers. Matt and Barry crash a (stolen) car. Matt's dad, a cop, does more damage to the vehicle with his baton. Then, he and his partner aggressively shove Barry and Matt to the ground.
A party dare turns dangerous when a large steel ball—with Matt inside—careens down a hill and off of cars, then plunges down a steep embankment, through fences and finally into a pool. Matt barely escapes drowning. Barry manages to accidentally knock over every display rack in a music store. An annoying musician's guitar is cruelly kicked in—while he's playing it.
Crude or Profane Language
Between 60 and 70 f-words, some of which are in song lyrics. (The n-word also pops up in a rap.) There are about 40 s-words. Jesus' name is abused eight or 10 times. God's name is misused at least 20 times, often coupled with "d‑‑n." Milder expletives include "h‑‑‑," "b‑‑ch" and "a‑‑." Vulgar slang is used for male and female genitalia. Obscene gestures are made.
Drug and Alcohol Content
Barry and Matt find a bag of cocaine, and Barry not only snorts it, but covers his face with it. (After making a mess of things, he muses, "But it looks so easy in movies.") Others join him, too. When women figure out that he's carrying drugs, they hit on him in order to get some.
Wine coolers and white zin reign at this '80s party. Drinks are served in numerous scenes, with alcohol showing up enough to deserve it's own entry in the cast list. Cigarettes and joints are smoked, sometimes competitively with booze.
Other Negative Elements
Matt's dad spends a few minutes trying to scare his kid straight when Matt and Barry, covered in white powder, wreck the Mercedes they've stolen. But then he just gives 'em a good clap on the back and lets them go back to their party. Covering up the evidence seems to delight the officer, in fact, as he chuckles over the "fun" crimes they've committed.
Barry blames his boss for his poor work performance, and he eagerly seeks revenge. Being a "mere" housewife is mocked.
It's a mystery why this film is titled Take Me Home Tonight—an apparent shout-out to Eddie Money's classic '80s tune. No one goes home, no one takes anyone home, and the song itself isn't heard.
What's not mysterious, however, is how very, very bad this movie is. So very bad in fact, that I've heard Bon Jovi is considering changing the lyrics in one of its '80s hits to "You give movies a bad name." But I digress. The late John Hughes loved giving moviegoers intense, daylong scenarios in which misfits learned life lessons. This film's director, Michael Dowse, decided to use his template to teach a few, too.
Lesson No. 1: Everyone feels like an outcast sometimes. But attaining social (even moral) acceptability is actually quite simple. Merely wait for your acne to clear up, lose your virginity as soon as possible, don't hang out with homely people, and land a totally bodacious job that your friends will envy. Mansions and a Mercedes are also helpful.
Lesson No. 2: Committing a crime (hey, why not commit a whole fistful of them!) is exhilarating and an awesome display of masculinity. Especially since consequences are just for losers—even when your dad's a cop.
Lesson No. 3: Carpe diem means doing something stupid/dangerous. And you haven't really grown up until you've decided to do something stupid/dangerous.
Lesson No. 4: Drugs equal fun and real living. When Matt announces that he doesn't do coke, Barry snaps, "You don't do anything!" Immediately seeing the profound logic in that and the negligent error of his ways, Matt tries to snort a line or two—while driving. Did I mention that when he's high, Barry goes from nerdy, boorish jerk to entertaining, confident jerk who fears nothing? His reward? Sex with a hot girl. Natch!
Lesson No. 5: Having sex with a woman who's out of your league is the meaning of life. When Wendy and Barry discover that Tori and Matt have "done the nasty," jubilance doesn't begin to describe their reaction. Fireworks even mark the occasion.
Lesson No. 6: All of the first five lessons can be lumped into the one that's proclaimed when Matt finally has his big lightbulb moment. He proudly exclaims, "I've got one thing to say to all the bulls‑‑‑: F‑‑‑ it."
He's not kidding. And I'm not kidding either. That really is the life lesson here.
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Topher Grace as Matt Franklin; Anna Faris as Wendy Franklin; Dan Fogler as Barry Nathan; Teresa Palmer as Tori Frederking; Chris Pratt as Kyle Masterson; Michael Biehn as Bill Franklin; Michelle Trachtenberg as Ashley
Michael Dowse ( What If)
March 4, 2011
July 19, 2011