“Take Me Home Tonight” is a nice nod to the 80’s

Netflix has finally managed to get a few new movies on streaming that I have actually been interested in watching. One of these movies is Take Me Home Tonight, starring Topher Grace and Anna Faris. So I fired it up on the XBox and gave it a look-see.

The movie takes place in the 1980’s, although exactly when in that decade is hard to determine since the music was from various years. But having grown up during that period, I am a sucker for films about it. Rather than make fun of the decade of neon fashion and big hair, though, Take Me Home Tonight is actually a much more honest look at the decade, although there is some humor to be found. The movie stars Topher Grace as Matt, a recent MIT graduate who seems to be having a hard time deciding what to do with his life. So instead of taking on a high-dollar job as an engineer, he chooses to work at the local Suncoast video at the mall.

What 80’s movie would be complete, though, without the beautiful and unobtainable girl? So in walks Tori (Teresa Palmer), the girl Matt has been in love with since high school. And of course, Tori doesn’t even remember Matt. But that doesn’t stop him from pursuing her by lying about his job and income to impress her.

The film also stars Anna Faris as Wendy, Matt’s twin sister. Wendy is moving in with her boyfriend, her exact opposite, although she secretly wishes to attend Oxford to continue to study writing.

Grace is great as Matt, although this role is not much of a stretch from the one he played on That 70’s Show. It is Faris, however, who shines here, taking a less comedic turn than we’re used to seeing from her. Her portrayal as Wendy, a young woman torn between what she perceives of what is expected from her and what she really wants in life. In the scene where she learns about whether she has been accepted to Oxford or not, the emotion she displays feels all too real.

This movie does not wrap everything up in one happy ending, despite the inevitable boy getting the girl, but I liked that. It shows us that life goes on and that maybe it will always be an uphill battle.

Take Me Home Tonight is not so much about the 80’s, though, as it is about that fear that many young people have: that never-ending question of “what do I want to be when I grow up?” How many of us live like Matt, afraid to make a decision at all, for fear of failing? Or how many of us make the wrong decision, like Wendy, fearing rejection? Growing up is scary, after all. In the end, though, we have to “ride the ball” and just do it.

(Interesting Sidenote: See that photo above of Anna Faris? She looks nothing like that in the movie. I’m not sure why they chose that image to represent her character, but who can explain Hollywood marketing?)

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