My colleague William Goss and I had a slight disagreement on the virtually worthless Take Me Home Tonight: I thought it was a pathetic Dazed and Confused wannabe that was edited at random by a stupid monkey in a dark closet, whereas Will thought the flick began as a shameless Superbad knock-off that had some grating "wistfulness" tossed in amongst the horrid soundtrack in an effort to fake the "good vibes" that other (infinitely better) films have to earn. This is a truly terrible flick.

A few weeks ago, I subjected myself to an outlandishly terrible piece of farce entitled Due Date. I took to the Twitter and opined that if screenwriters were legally required to appear in their own films (and deliver their own verbal garbage), then we'd never get movies as bad as Due Date -- a film so bad that it manages to make Robert Downey Jr. unlikable. That's some serious filmmaking talent on Bizarro World.

I shared that anecdote so as to make the following point: Due Date is Animal House compared to Take Me Home Tonight.

Stop me when this sounds interesting: a whiny jerk of a college graduate (Topher Grace, typecast) works in a video store at some vague point in the 1980s, only he has a problem. He's still in love with the generic blonde from high school. So get this: he goes to a party and sees her there. He approaches her. Then a misunderstanding or a fart noise occurs, the characters separate, and then our lead moron approaches her again. Repeatedly, endlessly, mirthlessly he approaches her. Also there's a fat slob who snorts cokes and makes loud noises. And a car crash. The films ends up a big steel ball falling into a swimming pool. Buckle up for hilarity.

Now imagine re-reading that paragraph for 93 consecutive minutes without being allowed to talk or tweet or scream for mercy and you're halfway to understanding what a cinematic affront this thing is. Take Me Home Tonight cribs from virtually every teen comedy ever made (including unwatchable crap like I Love You, Beth Cooper, dear god!), presents five of the most uninteresting and unpleasant lead characters you're ever asked to care about, lurches mirthlessly from fart joke to dick joke to tit joke (stopping only to get a bit "sweet" in a few unearned and truly unwatchable scenes), and pounds its witless, pointless "1980s remix" concept into the dirt with a stunningly mercenary tenacity.

In other words, the thing is aggressively bad, and it just doesn't stop.

Rare is the film that hangs its stars out to dry with this sort of tenacious consistency. Topher Grace, often witty and likable elsewhere, is insufferable here. His quarry, as played by Teresa Palmer, is a complete blank, and the film has a hard time convincing us that this generic Barbie doll is worth even half the headaches found in this tiresome chore of a movie. Oh, and this thing somehow makes Anna Faris (the closest thing to a true movie comedienne we have these days) into a humorless, generic, obnoxious subplot. I could forgive this terrible movie for many of its sins, but I cannot abide this sort of Faris abuse.

You could probably wring a lot of cute ideas out of a 1980's flashback comedy (The Wedding Singer did it pretty well ... 13 years ago) but Take Me Home Tonight was made by people who choose to mock the clothes, the slang, and the haircuts of the '80s -- but clearly have no sort of affection for the decade. It's a venal, mindless, and aggressively chintzy movie.

And it offers as many laughs as a pothole.

Take Me Home Tonight

  • Michael Dowse
  • Jackie Filgo (screenplay)
  • Jeff Filgo (screenplay)
  • Topher Grace (story)
  • Gordon Kaywin (story)
  • Topher Grace
  • Anna Faris
  • Dan Fogler
  • Teresa Palmer
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Michael DowseJackie FilgoJeff FilgoTopher GraceGordon KaywinAnna FarisDan FoglerTeresa PalmerComedyDramaRomance

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