Combustible Celluloid
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With: Topher Grace, Anna Faris, Dan Fogler, Teresa Palmer, Chris Pratt, Michael Biehn, Jeanie Hackett, Lucy Punch, Michelle Trachtenberg, Demetri Martin, Michael Ian Black, Bob Odenkirk, Angie Everhart, Jay Jablonski, Edwin Hodge
Written by: Jackie Filgo, Jeff Filgo, based on a story by Topher Grace, Gordon Kaywin
Directed by: Michael Dowse
MPAA Rating: R for language, sexual content and drug use
Running Time: 114
Date: 03/02/2011

Take Me Home Tonight (2011)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Riding the Ball

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Anyone who loved Sixteen Candles back in the 1980s will love this too. Thanks to the fine casting and the earnest devotion to the old, all-night party genre, Take Me Home Tonight works its warm, funny magic and casts a spell that's both nostalgic and naughty. It's so good-natured and sweet, however, that the heavy language, sex and drugs doesn't seem particularly shocking or offensive. The characters win the day.

It's the 1980s, and math genius Matt Franklin (Topher Grace) has graduated from MIT, but can't decide what he wants to do with his life, so he works at Sun Coast Video. One day his old high school crush, Tori Frederking (Teresa Palmer) walks into the shop. To win a date with her, he lies about being a successful banker. She invites him to a party, and Matt shows up with his best friend Barry (Dan Fogler), a loud, precocious car salesman, who has just lost his job. Accompanied by Matt's sister Wendy (Anna Faris), they steal a car to make the ruse complete. While Barry experiments with some found cocaine, a dance-off, and sex with strange women, Matt must figure out a way to keep Tori interested without letting his lie get out of control.

Grace is nicely cast as the former high school nerd, and Fogler gets to be a bit more than the goofy sidekick; he actually gets most of the movie's action. Pretty blond Palmer has an undeniable spark, and Faris is one of our best screen comediennes. The combination of the four is nearly unbeatable. Canadian director Michael Dowse balances everything admirably, despite his uneven previous features (It's All Gone Pete Tong, etc.).

Fox's Blu-Ray includes a second disc with a digital copy. Extras include deleted scenes (mostly good stuff), a cast get-together (with too many clips from the movie), a music boom box, and a music video, and trailers.

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